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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Centre awaiting SC verdict on SSP: Thakur

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Thursday, December 23, 1999


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Centre awaiting SC verdict on SSP: Thakur

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, DEC. 22. The Ministry of Water Resources today made out a case in favour of large dams in preparation, as it were, for the final hearing in February of the Narmada Bachao Andolan petition in the Supreme Court for review of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in Gujarat.

The context, mediapersons were told, was a seminar organised by the Government on the advantages and disadvantages of large dams on December 9. No voices of dissent or significant NGOs were invited to participate in the seminar.

Addressing mediapersons here today on `advantages of big dams', the Union Minister for Water Resources, Dr C.P. Thakur said the Centre expects a decisive judgment from Supreme Court in February so that work can begin on the SSP speedily.

``If all goes well, the Central Government will try and complete the project in two years,'' he said.

Dr. Thakur and his colleague Minister of State, Ms Bijoya Chakravarty, laboured on the ``gains'' of big dams, till asked about the ``losses''.

The disadvantages of big dams are submergence involving displacement of people, apprehensions about ``breakage'' of large dams, ecological imbalances they create and destruction of forests, they said.

Ms. Chakravarty described her visit to rehabilitation sites in Gujarat and said oustees had been given two hectares of land with irrigation facilities, hospitals, schools and parks. Both the Ministers said the Gujarat rehabilitation package was ``very good.''

In answer to a question, Dr. Thakur said a meeting of the National Water Resources Council would be convened in February under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister to discuss the draft National Water Policy Guidelines.


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