The government of Madhya Pradesh is facing allegations of attempting to undermine the working of the Justice Jha Commission which is investigating alleged irregularities in the rehabilitation of thousands affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). Even as the Madhya Pradesh high court-appointed commission continues to hear complaints of corruption and loss of livelihood in the rehabilitation process, the state government has denied the panel adequate funds, staff and infrastructure.
In fact, in May this year, the secretary of the SSP enquiry commission wrote to the registrar general of the MP high court stating that their work had been hit badly. “Because we are not getting enough funds, our work is getting affected and this is creating hindrance in the hearing of witnesses. This kind of a situation has arisen due to non-cooperation of principal secretary, general administration.”
According to the HC order of August 21, 2008, the state government was to bear the expenses, provide adequate staff (as approved by the commission) and provide infrastructure facilities to the commission.
The Commission is investigating allegations of fake registrations of sale deeds under the special rehabilitation package, the quality of resettlement sites, irregularities in allocation of housing plots, disbursement of livelihood grants, etc.
However, the commission has been starved of funds and basic infrastructural facilities. Activists say the government has also been hampering the deputation of officers and the process of providing correct documents.
“This has been causing unnecessary delays in the investigation process. Thousands of cases have to be examined and so the state government should understand the gravity of the situation,” said Srikant, an activist with the Narmada Bachao Aandolan (NBA).
The secretary’s letter says that despite requests for Rs5 lakh and Rs 9 lakh for wages and allowances, they have been sanctioned only Rs75,000 and Rs 6lakhs respectively in 2012-2013.
Similarly, for basic items such as furniture, only Rs1,000 was sanctioned this year against a request for of Rs2 lakh. A computer and laptop for Justice Jha are still awaited too.
The commission, whose report was to be submitted by February 2009, began its work only after this, owing to absence of facilities. The Jha Commission has now received four extensions so far.
The state government officials also gave misleading and incomplete information to the commission. DNA has a copy of another letter dated August 20, 2010, by secretary to the commission to the registrar, which says, “To make in depth enquiry certain information were sought from the district administration i.e Alirajpur, Dhar, Khargone, Barwani, Jhabua & Dewas, but the information received are neither in proper order nor factually correct.”
The letter adds that there are no revenue or police officials deputed to assist the commission. Earlier too, officers nominated by the state government were transferred without alternative posting, causing delays in the commission’s workings.