Legal Correspondent

``Be sensitive to grievances''

  • Families likely to be hit by raising of dam level
  • Bench apprised of advertisements issued in newspapers
  • Petitioners could file reports on measures undertaken

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed serious concern over the inordinate delay in providing rehabilitation to hundreds of families likely to be affected by the raising of the water level of the Tehri dam from 760 metres to 790 metres.

    A three-Judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan asked the Centre, the Uttaranchal Government and the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation to file a status report on the relief and rehabilitation provided to the project affected families (PAFs).

    The Bench said that the authorities concerned should examine the case of the PAFs with the sensitivity it deserved since it was being submitted on behalf of the petitioners that the monitoring committee was hardly effective in granting or getting relief package to the villagers who were to be affected by the project.

    By an order dated December 5, 2005 the apex court had directed the State Government to place before the District Magistrate concerned individual grievances of those not yet rehabilitated so that he could pass appropriate orders.

    On Tuesday, the Bench was apprised of an advertisement issued in newspapers on August 4 asking the villagers to immediately shift to the new sites provided in view of the onset of the monsoon and the prospect of the water level rising beyond 760 metres.

    When it was submitted by the Centre that the appeal was issued in the interest of the people, the Bench said: "We understand the need for power generation but we cannot ignore the rehabilitation measures. The interests of the illiterate people living there for centuries from the time of their forefathers cannot be forgotten. Be sensitive to their grievances."

    The Bench asked the authorities to file status reports in two weeks and place the results thereof to the magistrates concerned giving particulars village-wise of the people to be rehabilitated.

    The Bench said the petitioners also could file reports on the measures to be undertaken in two weeks thereafter and directed listing of the matter in September.