NBA Press Release
  14 May 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Supreme Courtís No to fill Omkareshwar dam up to 193.3 m

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Directs GRA to redress grievances of oustees with immediate effect

In a very significant decision yesterday, the Supreme Court turned down the prayer of the Madhya Pradesh Government to increase the water-level in the Omkareshwar dam from the present level of 189 meters up to 193.3 meters, thus submerging twenty five villages of the area. The Supreme Court stated that since a large number of grievances of the oustees are yet to be redressed, the Grievance Redressal Authority should redress the grievances and file a report in the High Court by the 20th of June, after which the High Court may take an appropriate decision.

It is noteworthy that the M.P. Government had challenged the Order of the M.P. High Court dated 16.03.2009 in a writ petition filed by the State Government. The State Government had challenged the Order of the High Court in a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court praying that water level in the Omkareshwar dam should be permitted to be increased from 189 meters to 193 meters. Senior Supreme Court Counsel Shri Harish Salve, Shri Mukul Rohtagi and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad argued in the Court that permission be provided to fill the dam up to 193 meters, in order to provide water for irrigation and drinking water purposes, through the canals.

Senior Supreme Court Counsel Dr. Rajeev Dhawan, and Shri Sanjay Parikh assisted by advocate Shri Nikhil Nayyar, Counsel for the Narmada Bachao Andolan, submitted photographs in the Court through which it was clear that the canal of the Omkareshwar dam has not been dug even at the dam site and in the initial reaches, therefore there was no question of providing water though the Omkareshwar canal, and the contention of the State Government in this regard is completely baseless, and an attempt to completely mislead the Hon'ble Court. Senior Counsel for the NBA also stated that R&R entitlements are yet to be provided to thousands of oustee families. He also informed the Hon'ble Supreme Court, that the electricity production from the Omkareshwar dam has been over target in the last two years, and the pure profits after taxes generated in the last three years was over Rs. 1000 crores, thus, the State and the Corporation were not making any losses whatsoever. They said in the circumstances, it was clear that the villages cannot be permitted to be submerged until all R&R entitlements are provided to the oustees.

After hearing Counsel for both sides, the bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Chief Justice of India, Shri K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Shri P. Sadashivam, and Justice Shri Deepak Verma refused to give permission to fill the Omkareshwar dam up to 193 meters, and said that since it was clear that a large number of grievances of the oustees were pending, the Grievance Redressal Authority should redress the same and submit a report by the 20th of June 2009, after which the High Court could pass appropriate directions.

Alok Agarwal, Radheshyam Tirole, Samesh, Ramkuwar rawat,Chittaroopa Palit