April 1, 2010 2:54:29 am
The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) authorities will challenge the Multi-disciplinary Expert Committee Report in a meeting on Thursday.
The report was submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests under the chairmanship of former Forest Survey of India director Devendra Pandey on February 13,2009. The committee has recommended a review of the catchment area treatment,compensatory afforestation,down stream impacts and command area development,archaeology,health impacts and seismic data.
B N Navlawala,Advisor to Chief Minister on water management,said: The committee has no locus-standi. Under the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award,1979,the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is supposed to oversee the environmental and rehabilitation work taken under the Sardar Sarovar Project. NCA has set up two subgroups of committees to monitor proper implementation of the project. The Pandey committee is ultra vires to the NCA. Gujarat had already complied with the conditions asked by the NCA.
Pandey had visited SSNNL and the command areas between January 8 and 11,2009.
Meanwhile,the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) led by Medha Patkar,had demanded a copy of the interim report,submitted during February 13,2009 under the RTI in March 2009. The reply to this report was given by the Public Information Officer and MoEF Additional Director S Bhaumik.
In the RTI reply,Bhaumik said: The committee has suggested not to raise the permit,further raising the dam height through construction of piers and bridges and 17 mt high radial gates till it complies with the environmental conditions and requirements. The committee has also suggested that the Back Water Level (BWL) decided by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is unsafe for planning rehabilitation.
SSNNL MD S Jagdishan and Chief Conservator of Forests,S D Vora are expected to attend a special meeting called by the MoEF secretary.
Commenting on the government stand,Jagdishan said: SSNNLs standpoint is clear. We have complied with all the conditions related to the Sardar Sarovar Project catchment area,and rehabilitation and afforestation. In our discussion with the MoEF secretary,we will mention that we have successfully satisfied all the conditions demanded by NCA in 1987 and 2006.
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