After 38-year wait, Narmada dam oustees to get Rs 60 lakh

NEW DELHI:After decades of litigation, all civil and criminal cases related to the Narmada dam project came to an end on Wednesday after the Supreme Court directed payment of final compensation to affected families.

singhking99@yahoo.com

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 8

After decades of litigation, all civil and criminal cases related to the Narmada dam project came to an end on Wednesday after the Supreme Court directed payment of final compensation to affected families. 

Aimed at creating a better irrigation network and power generation, the project took off in 1979. However, it was marred by controversy after activists took to streets and litigation resulted in inordinate delay and multi-fold cost escalation.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar ordered payment of Rs 60 lakh each to 681 affected families in MP who had not received any compensation against acquisition of their land. It also ordered payment of Rs 15 lakh each to 1,358 families who had already received both installments, saying: “They need to be further compensated so as to alleviate their hardship and enable them purchase alternative land. However, the amount already received by them shall be deducted from this money.” The government will deposit the money to Narmada Valley Development Authority which in turn will give it to Grievance Redressal Authority for onward distribution to the affected families, the Bench said.

“You have been struggling for compensation for 38 years. We are going to give it to you in one shot,” the CJI told Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patekar. 

These payments have to be made within two months on the condition that the affected families submit and undertake to vacate their land acquired for the project by July 31. The court said it was up to the state government to use force in order to get the land vacated if the families didn’t leave on their own by July 31. The Bench clarified that all civil and criminal cases, including those emerging from Jha Commission report on rehabilitation of families affected by Saradar Sarovar Dam Project, shall come to an end.

It also directed the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat to complete rehabilitation in three months. 

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