Fight over height continues

Published: Thursday 31 March 1994

Another tug-of-war has begun over the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam with Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh requesting the Gujarat government to lower it and Union water resources minister V C Shukla ruling out any reduction. Shukla's statement followed a plea by a delegation of Madhya Pradesh MPs, who were acting on a consensus reached by leaders Of all political parties in the state to reduce the height of the dam from 138.7 metres to 132.9 metres.

Singh pointed out that 6,242 ha of land would be saved and 38,000 people would escape displacement if the dam height is reduced. Ajit Jogi, Congress MP from Madhya Pradesh, said that unless the height is reduced, the dam would submerge fertile tracts of land in Nimar. The town of Harsud would also escape submergence, he added.

Madhya Pradesh had renewed its demand in the wake of Gujarat chief minister Chimanbhai Patel's death, hoping that "the new administration will pay heed to our cries". However, Gujarat MPs have lashed back with the argument that the dam would be the lifeline of western India.

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