Criticising the Narmada Control Authority’s decision to further raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat when thousands of affected people are yet to be rehabilitated, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Wednesday warned the government of an intensified struggle “inside the valley and in law courts.”
“[Narendra] Modiji, you are not the Chief Minister of Gujarat but the Prime Minister of the country and responsible for all citizens,” Ms. Patkar thundered at a protest rally at Jantar Mantar here.
“We want the dam to be halted at the present height to prevent further displacement. Even now 2.5 lakh displaced people need to be resettled and rehabilitated as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal award and various orders of the Supreme Court.” Failing to get an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she raised the issue in personal meetings with Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti and the Minister for Social Justice and Welfare Thawar Chand Gehlot.
Ms. Bharti claimed that the environment and rehabilitation sub-groups clearances at the present level of the dam were given during the previous United Progressive Alliance rule but were held back “for political reasons.” Nevertheless, she asked the Water Resources Ministry officials to examine the assertions made by the NBA.