The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to accord day-to-day hearing to pleas pertaining to rehabilitation of oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on Narmada river in various states including Madhya Pradesh, saying “the delay is helping neither side”. “Both sides (states and farmers who have been ousted) are suffering. The project is ready, but it has not been given effect to. People are also suffering,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said and agreed to hear on daily basis the pleas of Narmada Bacaho Andolan (NBA) and others on January 31.
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The court said that the farmers, whose homes and farm land would be submerged on operationalisation of the project, should be given cultivable land and compensation. “Compensate them. Either give them (oustee farmers) land or double amount of the value of the land which would be lost,” the bench said, adding that a practical solution is needed to be found as “delay is helping neither side”.
NBA led by activist Medha Patkar has alleged that 192 villages and one township would be affected in Madhya Pradesh and about 45,000 affected persons are yet to be rehabilitated. There should not be “submergence (of villages) without rehabilitation”, it said.
The Sardar Sarovar Project oustees including thousands of adivasis and other farmers have been waiting for land-based rehabilitation since many years, it said.