ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Follow the Law

The decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 17 metres has been widely criticised by social organisations led by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) as well as many eminent citizens on the grounds that it violates the legal rights of about 48,000 families (about 2 lakh people) living in the submergence area. As several reports have pointed out, thousands of farmers including tribal farmers, workers, fisherfolk and artisans are still living in the submergence zone while legal provisions and human considerations demand that they should be satisfactorily settled before submergence of their villages can be allowed.

Though the government has claimed that rehabilitation has been more or less completed, it is clear that this has been interpreted rather differently by the government to mean merely the completion of certain activities – for example, the marking out of certain resettlement sites. It is an entirely different matter that most of the evictees have not yet been rehabilitated in the area. This is what explains the wide differences in the data on rehabilitation presented by the official agencies and the NBA.

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