Narmada Bachao Andolan activists led by Ms Medha Patkar on Thursday asked the Union Environment Secretary to cite reasons by January 2001 for allowing construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam despite the fact that environmental clearance for the project
lapsed in 1990.
Activists of NBA caught police off guard and entered the Environment Ministry office on Thursday morning. After they demonstrated for over an hour, Environment Secretary Mr J Krishnan agreed to listen to their grievances. The activists also gave a
memorandum to Lok Sabha Speaker Mr Balayogi urging Parliament to ensure that the constitutional right to life of tribals is not violated.
"We asked him whether the Government of India permitted the Narmada Control Authority to construct the dam up to a height of 90 metres, due to which thousands of families have been affected," Mr Petkar told reporters.
Ms Patkar and other NBA activists are putting up at Nizamuddin Railway Station under strict police guard. "With great difficulty we managed to move out of our camp and somehow reached the Environment Ministry office," she said.
She said the Environment Secreta-ry had sought some time to reply to their queries, and they have given him time till January 7 next. "We wanted to know whether by Decem-ber 31, 2000, all those who have been affected because of the dam's height being
raised to 90 metres would be rehabilitated," he said.
Talking about the temporary environment clearance given to the project in 1987, she said the Ministry had given eight conditions including rehabilitation of affected families for getting permanent clearance. But the authority has fulfilled none of them so
far, she alleged.