New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Narmada Control Authority on a plea filed by persons affected by submergence in Sardar Sarovar Dam.
A bench of Justices N.V. Ramana and Ajay Rastogi asked them to file response and listed the matter for further hearing on September 26 to decide the question of rehabilitation before submergence as well as the water level to be maintained in the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
The petitioners said they are affected by submergence in Sardar Sarovar due to direction given by the Narmada Control Authority contrary to Narmada Tribunal’s Award (NWDTA) and earlier judgments of the Supreme Court, wherein it is mandated that no submergence should take place without rehabilitation.
Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioners, submitted before the Supreme Court that Sardar Sarovar being an inter-state project, terms and conditions of the award are binding on the states — Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The stipulation that no submergence should take place till complete resettlement and rehabilitation is done, is not only a mandatory condition in the said award, but was also affirmed by the Supreme Court judgements in 2000 and 2005. He also added that in those judgements, the Supreme Court held that even temporary submergence cannot take place till resettlement and rehabilitation is complete.
After the last order in February, 2017, the complete resettlement and rehabilitation should have been done but it did not happen. The counsel said that due to the illegal decision, water started rising in the reservoir and was raised to reach the full reservoir level of 138.68 meter on September 17.
The petitioners told the court that 178 villages have been affected causing the human calamity of the worst kind. The said decision was, in fact, a cruel and inhuman way to compel people to vacate under threat of submergence.