Special Correspondent

Urges Manmohan to stand firm on suspension of construction

NEW DELHI: The Narmada Bachao Andolan has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stand firm on the suspension of the Maheshwar dam construction, and not be swayed by the “propaganda” of the Madhya Pradesh government.

The construction of the dam, which is being built in Madhya Pradesh by a private company belonging to the S. Kumar's group, had been suspended by an order of the Ministry of Environment and Forests on April 23. The reason given was failure to fulfil the conditions of the project's environmental clearance, including “negligible” relief and rehabilitation work, a failure to submit a backwater level submergence report, and to create two wildlife sanctuaries.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written to the Prime Minister asking that the suspension be revoked.

On May 7, an M.P. government press release claimed that work would be allowed to resume partially following an assurance by the M.P. government to complete R&R work in a meeting with Central government secretaries.

The claim is “false and misleading”, said NBA activist Alok Agarwal. He pointed out that any modification of the “well-considered and reasoned” suspension order, issued under the Environment Protection Act, “would make a mockery of the law and democratic institutions”.