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NBA shocked over
Advani's statement

Spectators invited by Gujarat government at the
Sardar Sarovar dam construction site turned violent
as chaos ruled, writes Jitendra Verma

New Delhi, November 1

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has expressed shock over the statement of Union Home Minister L K Advani in which he has expressed his apprehensions that foreign powers could be behind the anti-dam forces. The NBA has also said that it has nothing to do with the violence and the burning of ministers' cars that marred the resumption of construction work of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP).

Advani yesterday said that those opposing developmental projects in the country were doing so on their own or at the behest of some foreign nations. He also claimed that the resumption of construction work on the dam was one of three major achievements of the Vajpayee government, the other two being the 1998 Pokharan blasts and the Kargil victory last year. Expressing shock, the NBA said the home minister should rise above party politics and avoid making such baseless statements.

The celebrations at the construction work on the dam yesterday were marred as the crowd turned violent. Thousands of irate people attacked three cars belonging to ministers after spending many hours in the hot afternoon sun without food and water. It was reported that three cars were burnt down.


There was a
total breakdown
of the arrangements at the site, which
led to the violence
by spectators

The Gujarat government in order to celebrate its win has arranged 3,200 state transport buses to ferry the people to the site. It was reported in certain sections of the media that the irate mob was led by the NBA. Denying any role in the violence, Shripad Dharmadhikary of the NBA said,

"They have nothing to do with the chaos and the burning of cars of ministers at the inauguration."

He further added that "the NBA had in fact deliberately decided against any program or demonstration at the dam site on this day and the NBA activists were not present at function."

According to the NBA the real situation is that the Gujarat government had brought large number of people to the dam site in state transport buses free of charge. But there was a total breakdown of the arrangements at the site, which led to the violence by spectators.

Meanwhile, the NBA has filed an application in the Supreme Court's (SC) verdict on the SSP for the clarifications for the two main issues. The NBA has sought to clarify whether the permission for
construction of the dam up to 90 m is inclusive or exclusive of the humps.

The application also seeks clarification as to whether the permission for construction up to 90 m which is premised on the assumption that the R&R (resettlement and rehabilitation) subgroup has already granted such permission, would still be operative if the premise and assumption is known and shown to be incorrect. This clarification or direction is also required in view of the fact that such permission for immediate construction up to 90 m would be in clear violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (NWDT), since the SC has directed that all further construction can only be done in conformity with the Award after the conditions for rehabilitation in the NWDT have been met.

According to the NBA, clarifications are most urgently required since the Gujarat government has announced that they are starting further construction on the dam,
as humps will further raised the height.

According to the SC's verdict, the permission to proceed forthwith with the construction on the dam upto to 90 m based on the assumption that the R&R subgroup has given the clearance to go up to 90 m. But the R&R subgroup has never granted explicit permission for construction up to 90 m nor has it ever stated that rehabilitation of all those affected at this height
has been completed.

In fact, it is clear that neither have all arrangements
for R&R of the Projected Affected Families (PAFs) upto 90 m been made, nor all the PAFs up to the same
height been resettled so far. "Seeing the scenario the construction up to 90 m at this stage will result in a serious violation of the NWDT Award and the
fundamental rights of those affected at 90 m,"
says the NBA.

 





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