THE Supreme Court will resume the
hearing of the comprehensive writ petition against the Sardar Sarovar Project
on January 24. Significantly, the petitioners, Narmada Bachao Andolan and
the state of Madhya Pradesh managed
to get some assurances from the Centre
during the last hearing, which was adjourned on December 7, 1995.
Solicitor General Dipankar Gupta told the court that the government is prepared to construct afflux bunds in 67 villages in Madhya Pradesh to save about 11,000 families from submergence. Secondly, the construction of the dam would be paused at 132.89 m for upto 10 years to complete relief and rehabilitation work. Lastly, the government is ready to construct an irrigation bypass tunnel at 90 m, to facilitate early irrigation benefits. Most importantly, the Gujarat government did not oppose any of these proposals. All these proposals are clear acknowledgement of serious rehabilitation and relief problems. in the last hearing, the court refused to allow strong pleas of the Centre and Gujarat governments to start further construction on the main spillway portion of the dam.
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