Parties oppose Medha's presence on dams' panel
GANDHINAGAR, Sept. 3
(From Rathin Das)
The ruling BJP, the opposition Congress and the Rashtriya
Janata Party, have come together to oppose the presence of
Narmada Bachao Andolan chairperson Medha Patkar at meeting
of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) to be held in Bhopal
later this month it will undertake a detailed assessment of the
currently stalled multi-crore Narmada dam project.
The Narmada dam project with crores of rupees allocated for civil
construction work, is a contractors' delight and political leaders in
the State are unanimous in dubbing it the 'Lifeline of Gujarat'.
While all the project contracts are awarded on the basis of the
lowest competitive bids, there is no mechanism to prevent friends
and relatives of political leaders negotiating sub-contracts with
According to a source in the State Vigilance Commission, the
Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), the nodal
agency for the construction of the multi-purpose dam project,
ranks among the topmost, along with the Road and Building
Department, in terms of the number of complaints of corruption.
Interestingly, these complaints have not been followed up for
want of administrative sanctions from the State Government.
Politicians have taken exception to the presence of Ms Medha
Patkar participating in the WCD meet on the grounds that she is
an acknowledged and well-known anti-dam activist.
The Narmada project is currently stalled due to the Supreme
Court stay on further construction
till all the issues related to the rehabilitation of those ousted due
to construction work are settled.
Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel has also convened an all-party
meeting here on Friday to discuss the possible implications of the
WCD meeting. Mr Patel has already written to Planning
Commission deputy chairman Jaswant Singh expressing his
concern over the Bhopal session of the WCD.