The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) today termed as "insensitive" the decision of Centre to allow Gujarat government to raise the height of controversial Sardar Sarovar Project when nearly 48,000 affected families across three states are awaiting rehabilitation.
NBA leader Medha Patkar said that NBA would launch a protest against the approval given by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA).
"The decision to raise the height of Sardar Sarovar Project, without fulfilling the preconditions of rehabilitation and environment, was taken in a haste without application of mind. It reflects the insensitivity of the government machinery," Patkar told PTI here.
The NCA recently allowed raising of the dam height by about 17 metres to 138.72 metres, which is viewed as a big boost to Gujarat which often faces water woes due to deficient rains. The current dam height is 121.92 metres. "Nearly 48,000 dam-affected families across Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra are yet to be rehabilitated. Secondly, all environmental conditions are also not yet fulfilled. Despite that the NCA permitted Gujarat government's Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited to raise the height of the dam," Patkar said.
She said that in this particular case, the prime minister Narendra Modi acted as the chief minister of his home state Gujarat and not as a leader of the entire country.
The announcement of the final clearance by the NCA for raising the dam height was made by Gujarat chief minister Anandi Patel. Patkar also alleged that the Madhya Pradesh government under Shivraj Singh Chouhan has shirked its responsibility in this case.
"Chouhan did not consider it appropriate to discuss the problems of the affected persons with NBA. Former chief minister Digvijay Singh used to have a direct dialogue with NBA to sort out disputes on the issue," she said. Patkar alleged that a large number of people from Madhya Pradesh are getting displaced due to the project though the State will get "minimum benefits" from the project.