Activists protest against decision to raise Sardar Sarovar dam height

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar here on Thursday demanded to rollback Centre's decision to raise height of Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 meters as activists protested in front of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's residence.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 16, 2014, 22:09 PM IST

Bhopal: Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activist Medha Patkar here on Thursday demanded to rollback Centre's decision to raise height of Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 meters as activists protested in front of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's residence.

"Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has said that the height of the SSP will be raised further by 17 meters and work on it will begin after festival Diwali. The Central Government claimed that with the decision, nearby land and villages will not be submerged," Patkar told reporters.

The Central government had in June this year gave green waiver to raise height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 meters.

Patkar questioned that how is it possible that by raising the height of the dam, adjoining villages and land will not submerge. She also demanded that land should be returned to owners which fall under the submerge region due to the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP).

The NBA leader claimed that by raising the height of the dam by 17 meters, nearly 48,000 families belonging to 245 villages of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the adjoining project area will come under the submerged region.

Of 48,000 families, a majority of 45,000 belong to Madhya Pradesh, she said.

Besides, large parts of fertile land, forest, houses and trees are also likely to submerge, she said.

Patkar said that at present the height of SSP is 122 meters and claimed that so far 50,000 farmers, labourers, fishermen have not been rehabilitated, so how Centre took the decision to raise the height of the dam.

Referring to Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013, she said that it was implemented with effect from January 1, 2014, according to it, if a land was acquired for five or more years and compensation was not given to the affected party, then the entire process gets nullified and the land or house owner once again becomes the property owner.

Patkar said that as per the new law, the land acquired

by the authorities for five years to 25 years (on papers) but is still occupied by the affected party, then the property cannot be taken away by them.

She said that now the government will have to start the process of land acquisition afresh as per the new law and it has to take consent of village panchayats concerned.

The leader demanded from the government to re-register the land in the name of original owners.

She also alleged that in last five years corruption to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore took place in the name of rehabilitation and over 3,000 fake registries were done. A case in this regard is pending in the court.

Large number of affected persons from Barwani, Betul, Burhanpur, Jhabua, Dewas, Khandwa, Khargone, Dhar, Hoshangabad and Alirajpur districts arrived in the state capital to take part in the protest.