Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct the Union Environment and Forest Ministry to withdraw its April 28 order to form an independent environmental committee to review the environment-related issues of the Sardar Sarovar dam project on the Narmada river.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Modi narrated the difficult terrains through which the Narmada project passed so far and pointed out that only recently the environment sub-group of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) at its 48{+t}{+h} meeting chaired by the Secretary of the Union Environment and Forest Ministry had given the environmental clearance to take the dam height to the full reservoir level of 138 metres.

He pointed out that the environmental sub-group under the NCA was formed way back in April, 1987, in the presence of the then Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers of the four concerned States and after the sub-group reviewed the situation the project was given the environmental clearance in 1988.

He said the NCA was monitoring every minute detail of the project and the environment sub-group enjoyed all the powers to take any environment-related steps. There was no need to set up another independent committee which would only further delay the project.

Pointing out that the construction of the central main canal up to 458 km was completed in 2008 and over 2.2 crores people in the State were supplied drinking water through the project, Mr. Modi said it was imperative to complete the project at the earliest to draw all the benefits from it. Anything that could create further hurdle in implementing the project should be removed, he said.