Urban Naxals had stalled work of Sardar Sarovar dam for years claiming it is bad for environment: Modi : The Tribune India

Urban Naxals had stalled work of Sardar Sarovar dam for years claiming it is bad for environment: Modi

Asks the state govts to adopt a balanced approach in granting environment clearances ‘to counter the conspiracy of such people’

Urban Naxals had stalled work of Sardar Sarovar dam for years claiming it is bad for environment: Modi

Narendra Modi. File photo

PTI

Ahmedabad, September 23

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday alleged that “urban Naxals and anti-development elements” with political backing had stalled the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat for many years by running a campaign that it would harm the environment.

Such "urban Naxals" are still active and getting support from various institutions to stall development projects in the name of environment protection, Modi said while urging environment ministers from different states to ensure that projects aimed at bringing 'ease of doing business' or 'ease of life' did not get stalled unnecessarily.

He also asked the state governments to adopt a balanced approach in granting environment clearances "to counter the conspiracy of such people".

The prime minister was addressing the environment ministers from states after virtually inaugurating the National Conference of Environment Ministers at Ekta Nagar in Narmada district of Gujarat via video-conference.

"Urban Naxals and anti-development elements having political backing had stalled the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam by running a campaign that the project would harm the environment. Huge amount of money was wasted due to this delay. Now, when the dam is complete, you can very well judge how dubious their claims were," he said.

Modi said that contrary to the claims that the project would harm the environment, the area surrounding the dam had now become a "teerth kshetra" or place of pilgrimage for environment lovers.

He was referring to the famous 'Statue of Unity' and many iconic tourist attractions, such as jungle safari, valley of flowers, and many gardens that came up near the 182-metre-tall monument.

'Urban Naxal' term is often used by some segments of the political spectrum to describe sympathisers of the Naxalism cause as well as certain social activists.

Last month, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel had also alleged that "urban Naxals" had opposed the Sardar Sarovar dam to deprive the state and arid Kutch region of water and development. He had labelled activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar as an "urban Naxal".

Cautioning the ministers, Modi said that urban Naxals are still active and get support from various institutions as well as political parties to stall developmental projects in the name of environment protection.

Tribune Shorts


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