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Thursday 18 November 1999
Posted at 0130 hrs IST


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Minister favours out-of-court solution for SSP displaced

By Shailesh Pandya

The Times of India News Service

VADODARA: Union minister of state for water resources Bijoya Chakravarty favours an out-of- court settlement with the affected people of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

Talking to this newspaper after paying a visit to the site of the dam and meeting the project-affected people (PAP) at Surya and Vadeli villages along the Narmada on Tuesday, she said the matter could be settled amicably on the lines of the Cauvery dispute.

``The delay behind Sardar Sarovar Project is due to lack of political and administrative initiative resulting in big losses to the nation,'' she said.

Chakravarty, accompanied by state minister Jay Narayan Vyas, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) chairman Bhupendrasinh Chudasma and water resources department secretary Hasan, spent eight hours at the site. She is the first Union minister to visit the site whose work began nearly 12 years ago.

``The Narmada basin has very large water flow going untapped for long which is a national waste,'' she said. For an all-round development of the western region, harnessing of the Narmada water is essential, she said.

Chakravarty assured everybody that funds would not come in the way of completing the project. The Centre would ask other beneficiary states to share the cost since Gujarat has already spent about Rs 8,500 crore, she said.

``Why can't people see the positive side of the project ?'' she asked.

There is no need to constitute another tribunal on deciding the dam's height. The question of lowering the height does not arise as it has been fixed by the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT), she added.



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