Panel defers decision on Narendra Modi demand to raise dam height
Despite Chief Minister Narendra Modi's missive to the Centre for expediting clearance for raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, a crucial panel reviewing and monitoring the implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation policies and programmes on Wednesday deferred a decision in this regard.
The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group of the Narmada Control Authority — chaired by Social Justice and Empowerment Secretary — met and discussed Gujarat's demand, but sources said a decision was not taken because of certain non-completion of work in Maharashtra. The state has been asked to submit a report on compliance after which the panel will meet again, they said.
Raising the height of the dam requires a clearance from the Narmada Control Authority and a prerequisite for NCA clearance is a go-ahead from two sub-groups on environment and resettlement and rehabilitation. While the environment sub-group had given the green light as early as in 2010, the resettlement and rehabilitation panel is yet to give its nod.
"The Government of Maharashtra has been asked to submit a report. A decision will be taken only after that," a source said. Asked whether the sub-group was in favour of raising the height of the dam, officials said a final decision will be taken after submission of report by Maharashtra which has been given some more time to complete the work.
Recently, Modi had written to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar seeking early approval from the R&R sub-group and NCA to raise the height of the dam. With the state reeling under drought-like condition, the state had placed the demand even before the Empowered Group of Ministers for Management of Drought which visited the state last month.
In his letter to Pawar, Modi pointed out that R&R work in all the three states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — have been "substantially completed" as required under the provisions of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award and the Supreme Court order.
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