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Parties oppose Medha's presence on dams' panel - [September 4,1998] - The Hindustan Times
September 4,1998
New Delhi


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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 the contractors.

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.