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Narmada Verdict
The Agony & The Ecstasy

Medha Patkar promises to continue fight against Narmada dam
Shiv Kumar
Oct 19, 2000 00:25 (IST)

Mumbai: Anti-Narmada dam campaigner Medha Patkar has promised to press ahead with the campaign against the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) despite a Supreme Court judgment Wednesday in favor of the project.

Speaking to reporters here, Patkar, who heads the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) said the villagers who are likely to be displaced by the project would continue their opposition and would commit suicide in the rising waters of the Narmada in protest.

Criticizing the court judgment, Patkar said poor tribespeople would be affected if the authorities increased the dam's height up to 90 meters and subsequently to 138 meters. "The judgment betrays the hopes of tribespersons and farmers," Patkar said.

She picked several holes in the court ruling saying the judges were relying too much on reports prepared by the governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. She said the Narmada Control Authority would not be able to prepare a rehabilitation plan for the project-affected persons in four months as stipulated by the court. "Madhya Pradesh does not have enough land, where will the project affected people be resettled?" Patkar asked.

The activist, who has been fighting construction of the dam for nearly 20 years, said the environment and rehabilitation cells set up by the Gujarat government had failed miserably. Over the years, the NBA has found several faults in the reports prepared by these cells, Patkar said.

She said the dissenting note struck by Justice S.P. Bharucha was very significant. In his dissenting note, Justice Bharucha said, "The environment studies have not been done properly and the norms of environment have been flouted totally. No proper research was done and new research needs to be done immediately."

Patkar said she would file defamation suits against opponents of the NBA who had alleged that the organization was receiving foreign funds. She said vested interests were spreading these rumors to tarnish the NBA's image.

--India Abroad News Service

Other Links
Madhya Pradesh deputy CM attacks anti-dam movement
Narmada dam only answer to drought: Minister
Sardar sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.
International Rivers Network
'Raised Narmada dam can give enough water'

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