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Affected families yet to be rehabilitated by State
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Affected families yet to be rehabilitated by State

MUMBAI, OCT 21: Although the Supreme Court has cleared the decks for raising the height of the dam on Narmada river up to 138 metres, the State Governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat are yet to rehabilitate 1,069 families from Maharashtra that will be affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP).

According to official records of the Relief and Rehabilitation Department, the state has made arrangements for rehabilitation of 1,611 out of a total 3123 families from 33 villages that will be submerged. Of them, 1,000 families opted for rehabilitation in Gujarat. The two states are yet to rehabilitate 277 families, including 158 in Maharashtra and 119 in Gujarat due to various reasons.

``We will not have any problem in rehabilitation of families if the dam's height is raised upto 110 metres as we have made arrangements for that,'' said Joyce Shankaran, Principal Secretary (Relief and Rehabilitation).

However, the Government does not have land for the rehabilitation of additional 610 families from the areas which will come under submergence if the dam's height is raised by further 28 metres. In that case, the Government will have to purchase more land for the purpose.

The Government claims it had offered land for the rehabilitation of 158 families who wanted to settle in the state but these were refused. The villagers demanded that land to be allotted for all of them at one place, which the Government finds difficult to do. So far, the Government has acquired 4,192 hactares of land from the Forest Department for resettling the affected families. Of this, 1,439.35 hectares were not available for rehabilitation due to encroachments, rivers, nullahs and gaothan land.

Shankaran said the Government had already made arrangements for the rehabilitation of families if the dam's height was increased up to 110 metres. She said the Government was yet to receive the order of the Supreme Court on the petition filed by NBA. ``We will undertake rehabilitation process for the families to be affected if the dam's height is raised up to 138 metres after studying the SC verdict,'' she said.

Two talukas of Nandurbar district, Akrani and Akkalkuwa, will be affected by the backwaters of the SSP dam. As many as 24 villages in Akrani and 9 villages in Akkalkuwa are being rehabilitated. Maharashtra will get 392 MW of electricity generated from the project while the State's share in water will negligible as compared to other dams in the state.

Under the rehabilitation project, the State Government has set up five new villages in Nandurbar district. The families have been given equal quantity of land submerged in water (minimum 2 hectares), 500 square metre plot for house, compensation for submerged houses, fields and trees, Rs 4,500 sustaince allowance for the first year and Rs 500 grant-in-aid, according to the rehabilitation department records.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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