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"GoM report does not reflect ground reality"

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SWORN IN: Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, Rashid Alwi and Vijay Kumar Ramnik Lal with Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (extreme left) after taking oath as Rajya Sabha members in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
SWORN IN: Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, Rashid Alwi and Vijay Kumar Ramnik Lal with Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (extreme left) after taking oath as Rajya Sabha members in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

Staff Correspondent

Full of inaccuracies and factual errors, says Madhya Pradesh CM

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claiming that the report of the Group of Ministers (GoM) that visited a few sites coming under the submergence of the Sardar Sarovar project does not reflect the ground reality and is ``full of inaccuracies and factual errors.''

Mr. Chauhan stated that the GoM report was not discussed at the Review Committee meeting convened by the Union Water Resources Minister on April 15 but was apparently used in a petition pending before the Supreme Court on April 17 to show that the rehabilitation work in Madhya Pradesh was not found satisfactory by the GoM.

He stated that the GoM visit was ``clearly allowed to be stage-managed by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists, several of whom specially came from Delhi to ensure that the committee saw what they wanted it to see and heard what they wanted it to hear.''

Commenting on the GoM note that refers to Khalghat, Dharampuri, Lakhangaon, Borlai-I, 2, and 3, Piplud, Awalda and Nisarpur sites, the Chief Minister maintained that there were no rehabilitation sites at Khalghat. The actual rehabilitation site was Khal Buzurg and not Khalghat. Mr. Chauhan said that 131 families would be affected here at the dam height of 121.92 metres. None of these families would lose more than 25 per cent of their land due to submergence and hence no one here was entitled to ``land for land.'' All the 131 families had been allotted house sites, he added.

According to Mr. Chauhan, land had been allotted to 4,286 eligible project-affected families (PAFs) but only 407 families opted for land and 3,879 families opted for the special rehabilitation package (SRP). On the GoM finding that all 407 families had been offered land at Khalghat, he said that it lacked verification.

While accepting that Dharampuri was one of the largest settlement sites, the Chief Minister maintained that the State Government had not claimed that the site had been fully developed and that all the PAFs had been settled there.

On the charge that the oustees were being forced to pay Income Tax on the compensation in excess of Rs. 1 lakh, Mr. Chauhan stated that the State Government had approached the Centre for exemption but it had not been granted.

On the conclusion by the GoM that there was some construction in the form of hospitals, and primary schools at Lakhangaon and Borlai 1-3 but these buildings were not functional, the Chief Minister said that such facilities become functional only when people settled at these sites.

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