A delegation of NGOs and prominent citizens today invited President K R Narayanan to visit rehabilitation colonies of persons affected by the construction of the Narmada Dam.
They apprised him of the “misformation” campaign spread by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and informed him about the plight of the people of Gujarat due to shortage of water and drought conditions.
Meeting under the banner of Bhagirath a 22-member delegation, led by former Union Minister Y K Alagh and Chuni Bhai Vaidya, a Gandhian, submitted a memorandum to the President stressing the need to implement the project that will become India’s “lifeline.”
Besides irrigation, it would help provide drinking water and renewable hydro-power, the memorandum stated, adding that the delay in the project deprive the Gujarat and Rajasthan people of their basic rights of getting clean water.
Earlier speaking to newspersons, Mr Alagh and Mr Vaidya alongwith their colleagues alleged that owing to the obstacles caused by anti-dam activists the dam is not being completed though a large part of the canal network is ready.
While appreciating the concern on the resettlement aspect of the project, they claimed that a detailed rehabilitation plan is being monitored by an independent research institute. An independent grievances redress authority is also reporting to the Supreme
Court on the rehabilitation measures, it said, adding that the task of resettlement of Project Affected People (PAP) is quite manageable. Notwithstanding this, they charged a “vicious” and “orchestrated” campaign has been unleashed by the NBA to spread
“While in a democratic set-up like ours there has to be an open debate and consensus on every major issues, the nation cannot accept a position where a particular point of view is sought to be thrust upon the vast majority of the people in total disregard
of decisions taken validly,” the memoradum stated.