By Our Staff Reporter
Khandwa, Sep 20
In an important development the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Central and Madhya Pradesh Government regarding submergence of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dam oustees without rehabilitation.
The NHRC has issued notices to the Secretaries, Ministry of Water of Resources and Ministry of Environment, Secretary, Narmada Control Authority and Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the rehabilitation issues of Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dam oustees as mentioned in the press release of Narmada Bachao Andolan, the NHRC in its notice mentions the “ alleged insensitive attitude and illegal moves of the Madhya Pradesh Govt. towards thousands of oustees affected by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects and accusing it of destroying their lands and livelihoods. It has been alleged that about 2500 landholder families in Omkareshwar and thousands of families in Indira Sagar have been pushed not merely into ‘submergence’, but ‘destruction’ zone and that too without prior and legal rehabilitation. It has also been alleged that all dams in the Narmada Valley are pushed ahead illegally with scant respect for environment, law and justice.”
The NHRC also states that even Central Government has also failed to intervene in this grave situation. NHRC notes “The Centre too, through the Narmada Control Authority and the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Environment have not promptly intervened into this critical situation”
The NHRC points out the failure of Government of Madhya Pradesh to provide land to oustees of these projects.
The notice states,” it has also been pointed out that 11,000 families have been rehabilitated in Maharashtra and Gujarat following agitations regarding Sardar Sarovar project but no one is rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh where the situation is same in all the large dams in its part of the Narmada Valley”
Taking cognizance of the serious state of rehabilitation of oustees the NHRC issued notice to the Secretaries, Ministry of Water of Resources and Ministry of Environment, Secretary, Narmada Control Authority and Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh is also directed to report as to what steps have been taken by the State Government for rehabilitation of the families affected by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Projects.
It may be noted that when the water level in Omakreshwar and Indira Sagar dam had been raised without rehabilitation of thousands of oustees of these projects, the oustees of Omkareshwar dam undertook a jal satyagrah for 17 days and of Indira Sagar dam for 15 days. In Omkareshwar dam the State Government conceded the demands and reduced the water level of the reservoir and also announced to give land to Omkareshwar oustees but in Indira Sagar dam jal satyagrahis were removed by police repression. In the case of Indira Sagar dam the NBA is filing a contempt petition before the High Court.