NBA Press Release
  29 August 2008
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

M.P. High Court stays review of GRA Orders favourable to oustees, sought by State and NHDC

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In a significant order, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh stayed the hearings of 204 review petitions, filed by the State Government and the Narmada Hydro-Electric Development Authority (NHDC) before the Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA), against the favorable orders of the GRA which held that oustees of the Omkareshwar project whose lands were in the submergence were also “displaced families” and entitled under the R&R Policy to R&R entitlements under the R&R Policy.

It may be noted that the GRA has passed 204 orders directing payment of rehabilitation grants to oustees of Omkareshwar project. In accordance with these orders, the NHDC prepared cheques in the name of 204 oustees, but instead of giving these cheques to oustees, they sent these cheques along with review petitions to the GRA. On the 3rd, 4th and 5th of August 2009, hundreds of oustees demonstrated before the NHDC headquarters at Khandwa against this stating that the NHDC/GOMP had no legal authority to withhold their cheques or give the same to the GRA, or to file review petitions in the GRA. As a consequence, the GRA returned the cheques to the GOMP and NHDC, but instead of giving these cheques to oustees, the NHDC illegally kept the cheques, and pressed the GRA to review the orders, and the GRA agreed to review all these cases on 2nd and 3rd of September. In this manner, the State Government and the NHDC were trying to ensure that the Orders passed by the GRA in favour of the oustees are not implemented.

During the hearing on the PIL filed by the Narmada Bachao Andolan about the rehabilitation of oustees of Omkareshwar project, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) raised serious objection against the proposed review of the favourable GRA orders. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) pleaded that it is illegal and impermissible for the GRA to review its own final orders, and the same amounts to harassment of the oustees, and an attempt to resist and obstruct the implementation of the Order of the High Court and the Supreme Court directing the speedy completion of rehabilitation and resettlement measures. If the State Government and the NHDC are aggrieved by the Orders, they can always appeal in the High Court. Instead of that, they are forcing the Grievance Redressal Authority to review all its orders passed in favour of the oustees, thus rendering the GRA process futile. After hearing the counsels of all the parties the High Court stayed the review applications which were scheduled to be heard by the GRA on the 2nd and 3rd of September, 2009.

The matter was heard by the bench of Chief Justice Madhya Pradesh Shri Anang Kumar Patnaik and Hon’ble Justice Shri Ajit Singh. Senior lawyer Shri Shekhar Bhargava pleaded for the State government and activist Ms. Chittaroopa Palit argued for the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Alok Agarwal, Ramkuwar Rawat, Sangeeta Kanera,Gajraj Singh