Narmada Authority meet put off

NEW DELHI, MARCH 3. The meeting of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) scheduled for tomorrow to review the rehabilitation of the Narmada dam-affected families in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and to give its opinion on raising the height of the dam has been postponed. No new date has officially been announced.

There is a view in the Government that the matter must be referred to the Election Commission so that it did not violate the model code of conduct in view of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections.

After reviewing the progress of the rehabilitation at the proposed height of the dam, the NCA, chaired by the Union Water Resources Secretary, was to have taken a view on raising the height from the present level of 100 metres to 110.64 metres.

So far the reports of resettlement have not been received from the States, which were to have submitted the Action Taken Reports, while a team headed by the Chairman of the Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R and R) sub-group is to submit its findings to the NCA. All these were to have been discussed in a meeting of the R and R sub-group tomorrow before the meeting of the NCA.

At the last meeting on February 12 of the political-level review committee of the Narmada Control Authority, chaired by the Union Water Resources Minister, Maharashtra had withheld its consent for raising the height to the next level and sought four months' time to resettle the families displaced.

About 8,000 families, 600 of them in Maharashtra, would be displaced at the 110.64 metre height.

The State Government said it had to resettle 177 originally displaced families and about 300 more, which were identified in surveys.