The Supreme Court today said that it would set up a committee of experts to look into the compensation and rehabilitation aspects of oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) on Narmada river and made it clear that it would not allow “stalling” of the project.
A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that to ensure “better deal” for the project-affected families, it is willing to “twist” the arms of the executive and asked the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and states — Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra — to suggest names of experts who could be appointed in the committee which would deal with the resettlement and rehabilitation of oustees.
“We will constitute a committee with your (NBA) participation and that the committee will determine the quantum and nature of compensation. The decision will be acceptable to all,” the bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said.
The bench further said that it will ask the state governments to deposit the money in the apex court registry after the committee decides the issue.
The court made it clear to the parties, including activist Medha Patekar-led NBA, that it would not allow stalling of the project.
“Since 2002 this writ petition is pending. Fifteen years have passed. We cannot allow this to remain pending. We cannot allow this country to be held back,” it said.
The bench asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, Additional Solicitor Generals (ASGs) P S Patwalia and Tushar Mehta, appearing for the states concerned, and the counsel for NBA to suggest names of experts, who could be appointed in the committee, on February 8, the next date of hearing.
At the outset, ASG Patwalia, appearing for Madhya Pradesh, said that there were 4,998 project-affected families in the state and their land measuring around 7,000 acres was acquired for the project.
Some affected families opted for special rehabilitation package and some went for “land for land” scheme in which affected persons got land in lieu of acquired plots, he said.
Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for NBA, said that 192 villages and one township would be affected in Madhya Pradesh alone and about 45,000 affected people are yet to be rehabilitated.
There should not be “submergence (of villages) without rehabilitation”, he said. (More)
(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)