Monday, April 17, 2006

No rehabilitation, no Narmada dam work

Today's Supreme Court observation was bang on target. Rehabilitation is the issue; and the judges have rightly said that the dam construction has to stop if affected people aren't adequately compensated.

Both dam and rehabilitation are important. That's what Supreme Court said. And that is why both Medha Patkar and Narendra Modi felt they had won and ended their fasts.

I don't think the issue will be resolved anytime in the near future. Because the problem is not so easily solvable. The number of people being displaced and the area going under water is so huge, it is practically impossible for the government (mainly of Madhya Pradesh) to find alternative land.

The people who are getting displaced are all dependent on land for livelihood. It's not like your company is sinking, so you quit and join and another company. Is it right to be so indifferent to these people?

One of the reasons for the World Bank and other partners pulling out the project in 1990 is the high human cost of the project. The moot point is not when we will address it, but how we will address it.

The big beneficiary of the project is Gujarat but most the submergence and displacement of people is happening in Madhya Pradesh. But Gujarat government and its politicians haven't spared even one little thought for the people who are being adversely affected.
Why? Is it because those people live in Madhya Pradesh? Isn't this "why should we bother" attitude bad?

The politicians and the government of Gujarat will not lose anything if they give at least moral support to the people being displaced. Shouldn't the beneficiaries at least acknowledge the sacrifice of millions of people, if not help in some way to ameliorate their difficulties?


  1. hmmm... yes, rehabilitation is extremely necessary in such situations.. I'm surprised that the go- ahead had been given without any proper confirmation of the legitimacy of those documents that claimed that the people were being compensated!!

  2. Your final statements make a very valid point.
    Well said.
    But expecting empathy from the insensitive Modi government is of no use.