NBA Press Note

January 22, 2001

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

B-13, Shivam Flats,
Ellora Park, Baroda

Independent Committees: Maharashtra Government Yet to Keep the Promise; Will it again Succumb to the Pressures of Gujarat? Will the Bureaucrats Continue Misleading the Government?

It seems that the Government of Maharashtra is dithering over the formation of the independent committees on the resettlement and cost-benefit aspect of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), which the Chief Minister has announced in a Press Conference on January 4. The Gujarat government and some bureaucrats from the state have been pressurising to scuttle the proposal from day one and it would be unfortunate if the Maharashtra Government succumbs to this pressure. We reiterate that there is nothing legally wrong, as is being made out by the opponents of the Chief Minister's declaration, if the state government wants to get the feedback on the resettlement and cost-benefit of the project for itself.

In fact, it will help in implementing the decision of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal(NWDT), regarding the resettlement. The Supreme Court has also ordered that the Award of NWDT be implemented. As things stand today, even the oustees below 85 meters in Maharashtra have not been fully resettled as per the law and regulations. Hundreds of people have been languishing without the land in the resettlement sites in Maharashtra for last 4 to 7 years. The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) too has recently admitted that the people below 90 meters were not resettled. This amounts to the gross violation of the NWDT and the legal and constitutional norms. It is perfectly legal and morally right on part of Maharashtra government to formulate the committees.

We appeal the government to stick to the decision and immediately issue the order to form the committees so that important work can be undertaken as soon as possible.

Sanjay Sangvai