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'There is not enough arable land for PAP, so I prefer to give
cash compensation'

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh is neither happy nor disappointed with the Supreme Court verdict
on the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) as it has created
its own share of problems for Madhya Pradesh. It does not have enough land to settle oustees of its own projects, let alone those of the SSP.

It is pertinent here to recall a conversation Narasimha Rao had with Sunderlal Patwa and Chimanbhai Patel,
the then chief ministers of MP and Gujarat. The
dispute regarding resettlement had cropped up early during Rao's regime and in one tripartite meeting
Rao said, "Chimanbhai, wasn't Jhabua district
supposed to be part of your Maha-Gujarat (greater Gujarat) demand? Now where is the problem in
settling people from that district?" Chimanbhai
agreed. In an interview with Sangeeta Madan,
Digvijay Singh says he wants Gujarat to keep
Chimanbhai's promise

Bhopal, October 20

What is the main problem?
The main problem is that we do not have any arable
land to give to the oustees. One of the main clauses
of the award of the Tribunal is that all PAP (project affected people) should get land in lieu of land. The problem is that in a family of four with a father and
three adult sons with a family-held plot of two acres
each, each adult becomes eligible for two acres.
When there is not enough arable land to give to one person, this kind of doubling is not possible at all.
I prefer to give cash compensation, even if it is more
than the price of the acquired land.

You have been accused of using the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) to fight your battle with
the Gujarat government…

Not at all. I have great respect for Baba Amte and Medha Patkar. It is wrong to allege that I have used them to fight my battle. Remember, the only case pending with the SC now is the one which we have filed. We want a review of the award by the Tribunal set in 1979. Our contentions are totally different from that of the NBA. There are some issues on which we may have similar views though, like the issue of water. We believe that the quantity of water originally stated in the award at 28MAF is no longer available in the river so there should be a review.



"I have great respect for Baba Amte and Medha Patkar. It is wrong to allege that
I have used them to fight my battle. The only case pending with the SC now is the one we filed. We want a review of the award by the Tribunal set in 1979
"

But Gujarat does not agree…
They may not but that does not mean our point is not valid.

Is the state government prepared for the
displacement to be caused
by the SC judgement?

Our figures say that at the height of 90 m, some 2,000 families out of the original 3,000 have been settled in Gujarat. Some 850 more are to be settled and we are making arrangements. A total
of 92 rehabilitation centres have to be built when the dam
is raised
to
its full height. We have already made 18 such centres and 23 are under construction. But my main contention is that the height of the dam should be restricted to 436 ft instead of 455 ft as wanted by Gujarat. At 436 ft or 120 m, all the benefits of irrigation water and electricity are fulfilled and we will be able to save at least 20,000 people. This means there are many less to
be resettled.

What is happening to the other Narmada projects?
The Narmada Sagar and Indira Sagar are complete. Maheshwar is going full steam ahead. We have our
own priorities of irrigation and power and we are
working accordingly.

 





Sonia Gandhi
Chhota Rajan

Sushmita Sen
Mohammed
Azharuddin





A
strologer Uma Shankar Shukla
will be providing
a weekly health
guide for the
Zodiac signs


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