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Wednesday 1 December 1999
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Govt move to counter kar seva

Prohibitory orders to be issued on Narmada dam site

GANDHINAGAR: The state government has decided to issue prohibitory orders at the Narmada dam site and other sensitive places to ensure that the site is not damaged by miscreants during the kar seva planned for December 4.

The order will be put out on Wednesday by the district magistrate. The decision was taken at a meeting Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel held with senior home and Narmada development department officials on Monday evening.

"The state government cannot allow any risk to the Narmada dam site. We have to ensure that future construction work, as and when the Supreme Court wants the government to go ahead with, is not put in jeopardy", said the official. "A large number of people are likely to gather at Narmada. We will have to take precautionary measures to ensure safety to public property as well as people's life".At the top-level home department meeting, which is directly under the chief minister, Narmada development minister Jay Narayan Vyas, minister of state for home Haren Pandya, chief secretary L N S Mukundan and Vadodara range IG D D Tuteja, among others, participated. Mr Patel told those present that the kar sevaks should not be allowed to do anything that would invite Supreme Court's contempt on Gujarat. The apex court's next hearing will take place on December 2.

The meeting decided not to do take any severe action, unless so required, as that would put the state government in an embarrassing position. At the same time, there was a general view that effort should be made to ensure that the state's interests were "not jeopardised". Politically, it was deemed advisable to continue holding rapport with farmer leader Sharad Joshi, to see that things did not go out of hand.

Opinion was expressed during the meeting that those taking part in the kar seva were "not anti-dam", and their interests and those of the state government were the same, despite the political tone the kar seva had come to acquire. It was suggested that the kar sevaks and their leaders - including Mr Joshi, Mr Sanat Mehta, Ms Urmilaben Patel, Mr Satyajit Gaekwad and others - should not be treated on par with the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

The organisers of the kar seva made it clear that their intention was to bring into focus the drought situation in different parts of the state and how the Narmada dam could come to their rescue.

The Economic Times


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