Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
New Delhi – The Supreme Court was Monday informed that an independent audit would be conducted of the rehabilitation measures taken for those affected by raising the height of the Narmada dam.
The National Sample Survey Organsiation (NSSO) would verify the status of rehabilitating families in Madhya Pradesh affected by raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam from 110.64 metres to 121.92 metres, the central government said in the court.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told a bench of Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal and judges K.G. Balakrishnan and S.B. Sinha that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constituted the Sardar Sarovar Project Relief and Rehabilitation Oversight Group to verify the status of rehabilitation.
He said the NSSO had been asked to conduct the verification exercise from May 19 till June 19. After this, it would be known how many families had been rehabilitated and how many were still to be rehabilitated.
The Madhya Pradesh government would then be asked to complete the rehabilitation before June 30, provided all the parties involved, including the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and the states concerned, cooperated in the effort.
The bench, while making it clear that the states would face serious consequences if the rehabilitation was not undertaken as per apex court judgements, asked them to file their response to the centre’s move and posted the matter for hearing May 8.
Earlier NBA counsel Shanti Bhushan strongly pleaded for stopping the construction work on the dam since the Madhya Pradesh government itself had admitted that the rehabilitation work had not been completed as per the apex court directions.
Quoting from an earlier Supreme Court judgement, he said rehabilitation work must be completed one year in advance and six months before the actual submergence was to take place. He said unless this requirement was fulfilled, further construction should not take place.