No decision to stop work on dam: PMO
New Delhi, April 16
The Prime Minister’s Office said later that no decision had been taken on suspension of construction work at the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada.
Answering queries, PM’s Media Adviser, Mr Sanjaya Baru, said Dr Singh had received the report of the Review Committee of the Narmada Control Authority and recommendation made by Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz.
“No decision has been taken,” he said when asked about suspension of work on the Narmada dam.
He said there was no question of going against the Supreme Court verdict in the matter.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress, which had given a call for bandh today, withdrew its strike call following assurance by the Prime Minister’s Office that no decision had been taken to stop work on raising the height of the dam.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an application filed by 48 project-affected families tomorrow.
Twentysix BJP and Congress MPs from Gujarat, who met the Prime Minister today, urged him to allow continuance of construction work on the Sardar Sarovar dam.
“The Supreme Court has closed all arguments regarding construction of the dam and work on the project should not stop,” BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member from the state Arun Jaitley said.
In their representation to the Prime Minister, the MPs said the Supreme Court judgement of October 2000 had directed the authorities to remove impediments in the construction of the dam.
While the Gujarat MPs met the Prime Minister, the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists could not do so as they had no prior appointment. Nearly 50 NBA activists, were detained from near the Prime Minister’s house for violating prohibitory orders but they were later released.
Criticising the remarks of Mr Baru about no decision having been taken to stop dam construction, NBA took exception to the Prime Minister “entertaining pro-dam political delegations from Gujarat.” NBA spokesman Deepti Bhatnagar said the Supreme Court judgement had put the responsibility on the Prime Minister to deliver his decision in the event of disputes between party states at the Review Committee of the Narmada Control Authority.
She said the NBA was putting its hopes on tomorrow’s hearing in the Supreme Court on an application filed by 48 project-affected persons.
Meanwhile, noted activist Swami Agnivesh today urged the Prime Minister to immediately exercise his “authority in favour of rights of thousands of farmers and adivasis in accordance with the law and the Constitution, especially in principles of justice and democracy.”
“The current construction of the dam violates the fundamental and human rights of these thousands of adivasis and farmers, and also legal stipulations of the award of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal as well as the judgements of the Supreme Court,” he said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, according to NBA activists, the condition of Medha Patkar, Jamsing and Bhagvatibai, who have been fasting, deteriorated further today. Tomorrow, the NBA has given a call for going on a hunger strike en masse.