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The Indian Express: National Network: Full story
Saturday, May 19, 2001

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The Indian Express North American Edition


AG clears building of hump on Narmada dam

Express News Service

Gandhinagar, May 18: The Gujarat government has finally received a legal opinion in its favour from the Attorney General of India to construct a three-metre hump over the 90-metre Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam, putting to rest speculations over the contentious issue.

Hailing the legal opinion in the government’s favour, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Chairman Bhupendrasinh Chudasma told The Indian Express from Kevadia on Thursday night that work on constructing the hump would begin immediately after the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) completed the process of eliciting comments on it from the participating states over the next three days.

Chudasma said the NCA chairman would seek comments through fax messages from the beneficiary states on the construction of the hump, and the process to be completed in three days. Queried, the Narmada Nigam Chairman said: ‘‘It is immaterial whether the Madhya Pradesh government offers its comments against the hump, for the process of seeking the comments by the NCA is a mere formality.’’

Responding to another query, Chudasma said the NCA need not convene a meeting to decide on allowing the Gujarat government to construct the hump, as the comments of the participating states would be sought through fax.
Chudasma is camping at the dam site to ensure that the work on the hump begins as soon as the NCA completes this process.

The construction of a three-metre hump over the Narmada dam is considered a technical requirement to avoid any damage to the dam structure during a possible flooding of the Narmada river in the ensuing monsoon. ‘‘With the legal opinion coming in our favour, we will complete the construction work on the hump in one month,’’ asserted Chudasma.

Delay in getting the legal opinion in favour of constructing the hump had caused a great deal of anxiety not only in the corridors of power in Gandhinagar, but also among the pro-dam organisations active in the state.

The controversy over the issue was triggered when the Madhya Pradesh, at the NCA meeting on May 4, had opposed the construction of the hump, arguing that it was not a technical requirement. This compelled the NCA chief Babubhai Navlavala to seek a legal opinion of the Attorney General of India on the issue.

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