big dam reaches height of trouble
higher Narmada dam means state has to rehabilitate more families
GANDHINAGAR, AUGUST 19: IN what could be termed a setback
for the Gujarat government, a meeting of the Review Committee
of the Narmada Control Authority (RCNCA) held in New Delhi
on Saturday decided that the three-metre hump constructed
on the Narmada dam would be considered as part of the actual
height of the dam.
This was stated in an official press release issued by the
state government on Saturday. The implication of this decision
is that Gujarat would have to rehabilitate Project Affected
Families (PAFs) for three more metres before any further construction
is taken up.
The state government had so far taken the stand that the newly-constructed
hump could not be considered part of the total height of the
The Gujarat government so far claims to have rehabilitated
PAFs at a height of 90 metres with the construction up to
90 metres approved by the Court.
Official sources say the state government is yet to complete
rehabilitation of oustees at the height of 95 metres and the
latest decision entails that more families would have to be
rehabilitated with the effective height of 98 metres before
it can approach the NCA for further approval.
The decision also entails that the government shall not be
able to construct another hump whenever approval is given
for increase in the dam height. The apex court had cleared
construction of the dam up to 90 metres after it was satisfied
with the rehabilitation work at that height. The court had
also approved construction of the hump of three metres, not
considering it part of the damís height.
Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister
Digvijay Singh, Rajasthan Irrigation Minister Kamla Devi and
Maharashtraís Minister of State for Relief and Rehabilitation
Ramraj Nimmalkar participated in the meeting of the RCNCA.
And Keshubhai Patel agreed to allow the three-metre hump to
be a part of the damís height.
The meeting also decided another important thing, which the
Gujarat government may find it difficult to implement. It
was decided that all PAFs at a dam height of 100 metres should
be rehabilitated by December 31, 2001.
After the rehabilitation is done, an approval of the same
by Rehabilitation & Resettlement Sub-Group and Environment
Sub-Group of the NCA would be required. When the approval
comes depends on the NCAís next meeting, after the rehabilitation
work is complete.
Then, Gujarat also has the uphill task of tackling the Madhya
Pradesh government on this count. All this may take time at
least till April next, sources said.