SC asks 3 states about steps on rehabilitation of Narmada dam

New Delhi

The Supreme Court today asked the Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments to file reports giving details about the steps taken to rehabilitate people dislodged from the Narmada dam project sites.

“File a report on the rehabilitation and the manner in which the rehabilitation has been done,” the Social Justice Bench of justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said and fixed April 24 for considering the replies of the states concerned.

The bench was irked over the affidavit filed by the Madhya Pradesh government, saying, “This is the most casual approach.

You have given no details.”

The court’s remarks came after perusing the reports filed by the three state governments on progress made by the grievance redressal authorities (GRAs) in deciding pleas of oustees relating to their rehabilitation.

Earlier, the court had asked the state governments to “place on record the result of the progress made by grievance redressal authorities on or before March 10, 2015.”

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Gujarat, said two GRAs have decided 316, out of 782 applications, till February 28.

“We are concerned with the disposal of cases. You (ASG) are right that you have done a good job. But, it should result in disposal of grievances,” the bench said, adding, “If 900 out of total 1500 cases are still pending, then it is not substantial.”

The bench was critical of the MP government’s report as it did not give substantial details of cases dealt by GRAs in the state.

Earlier, Gujarat, MP and Maharashtra had agreed constitute GRAs to decide petitions and applications pending as on December 31, 2014.

“Each GRA will be entitled to take the assistance of one retired District Judge or a senior judicial officer of an equivalent rank, one Additional Collector and two Deputy Collectors each,” the court had said, adding that GRAs will dispose pending cases by February 28.

The bench is hearing the 2002 PIL filed by Narmada Bachao Aandolan on the rehabilitation of oustees of the project.
The bench had also said, “We expect that the three state governments (Gujarat, MP and Maharashtra) will render all necessary assistance to the grievance redressal authorities to enable them to complete their task of deciding of all applications and petitions pending before them as on December 31, 2014, on or before February 28, 2015.”

Each GRA would devise its own procedure but “we may only suggest that it may be appropriate if the grievance redressal authorities visit some of the sites from where the project- affected persons have made representations…,” it had said.

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