New Delhi: Landless labourers who were
ousted due to the construction of Narmada dam projects in
Madhya Pradesh are not entitled to any alternative lands, the
Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
A three-judge bench comprising justices J M Panchal,
Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan gave the direction while
rejecting a plea of NGO Narmada Bachao Andolan that landless
oustees were entitled to alternative land as it was one of the
pre-condition imposed by the Union Welfare Ministry at the
time of clearing the project in 2002.
The apex court said the clearance granted by the Welfare
Ministry was not statutory unlike the nod granted by the
Ministry of Environment and Forests.
"The said contention is devoid of any merit...it does not
appeal to us that landless labourers could be entitled for
allotment of agricultural land measuring two hectares. Neither
it had ever been contemplated nor it is compatible with R&R
(relief and rehab) Policy. Nor such land had ever been
allotted to this class of persons. The contention is hereby
rejected," the court said.
"Moreover, even if we regard the allotment of land to
landless labourers as a condition, the Government of MP did
not accept such a condition. The Ministry of Welfare`s
clearance was not statutory, like any other statutory
clearance, eg clearance granted by Environment and Forest
Ministry," Justice Chauhan observed.
NBA had raised the plea for allotment of land to the
oustees affected by construction of the Upper Beda Project.