Post Supreme Court July 31 deadline, 7010 families still living in Sardar Sarovar Project submergence zone in Madhya Pradesh

A day after the deadline fixed by Supreme Court for Sardar Sarovar Project-affected people to vacate their land passed, as many as 7010 families continued to live in the dam’s submergence zone.

Published: 02nd August 2017 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2017 12:00 AM   |  A+A-

People protest against displacement by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project.

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: A day after the deadline fixed by Supreme Court for Sardar Sarovar Project-affected people to vacate their land passed, as many as 7010 families continued to live in the dam’s submergence zone in Dhar and Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
 
According to the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) vice chairman, Rajneesh Vaish, a total of 7010 families were still living in 71 villages of submergence zone in Dhar and Barwani districts. Out of this, 4618 families were living in 37 villages of Dhar district, while 2392 were yet to be relocated from 34 villages in Barwani district, added Vaish.
 
Out of the 7010 families, 1524 families have already been rehabilitated. For the remaining 5486 families, the Rs 900 crore package announced by the MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on July 29 will be rolled out from Wednesday.
 
The package announced by the Madhya Pradesh CM on July 29 entails disbursing Rs 5.80 lakh to each of these families for building their own houses and additional expenses in relation to the same.
 
Vaish said, “We’re now going to roll out the Rs 900 crore package announced by the CM on July 29 and hope the remaining families will cooperate with us.” He, however, ruled out forcefully evicting the remaining families from their dwellings in the submergence zone post July 31 deadline.
 
Importantly, the Supreme Court order of February 8, 2017, also allowed the authorities the option to go for eviction of land post the July 31 deadline.
 
But the NVDA vice-chairman stopped short of declaring forcible eviction of land in the submergence zone, saying the water level in the dam in Gujarat will cross 131 metre only after August 20, when the habitats of those still living in the submergence zone would be partially submerged. “If any danger is seen to the life of families still left there after August 20, we’ll ensure their safety by shifting them to safer place,” said Vaish.
 
Earlier in the day, minister of state for Narmada Valley Development Lal Singh Arya accused the opposition Congress and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar of misleading the people in the submergence zone over the issue. He also claimed that 98% work was complete at the Resettlement and Rehabiliation (R&R) centers.
 
Reacting to the minister’s accusations, MP Congress Committee chief Arun Yadav said “We’ll continue to fight for people’s cause, be it on Mandsaur farmers’ deaths issue or the displacement of people by the Sardar Sarovar Project.”
 
In Chikalda village of Dhar district, meanwhile, the indefinite fast by NBA leader Medha Patkar in support of the cause of SSP-affected population entered its sixth day on Tuesday. She was visited by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Lok Sabha member Bhagwant Mann.
 
The AAP MP told journalists that he would talk to the MPs from other opposition parties and raise the issue in the Lok Sabha. He also alleged that the lives of thousands of families living in the two MP districts were being destroyed just to render political capital to the ruling BJP in the coming assembly polls in Gujarat.

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