The issue of rehabilitation of nearly "40,000 families" in Madhya Pradesh, affected due to the Sardar Sarovar project, remains "unresolved" even as the water level has started rising after closure of the gates of the dam, a CPM leader and an activist today claimed. The affected families in the area of submergence, including "191 villages", have resisted their eviction seeking proper rehabilitation, CPM leader and general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Hannan Mollah said. "The government is not listening to anything.
We have approached the Supreme Court and are likely to be heard tomorrow in this matter," Mollah said during a briefing by the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan and National Alliance of People's Movement. He also urged social activist Medha Patkar, who is on an indefinite hunger strike for the past 12 days against alleged forced displacement of the affected families, to end her fast and lead the movement. Environmentalist Soumaya Dutta alleged that local police and administration in Madhya Pradesh were "forcing" the affected families to sign compensation bonds and leave their villages. He further alleged "both the Centre and the Madhya Pradesh government are lying about the figures of affected families" who have been given compensation. "There are around 40,000 families who have not been rehabilitated or are being rehabilitated in a shoddy manner although the government estimates a far lower number," he said. The Centre though had informed the Rajya Sabha on July 31 that of the total 18,063 families affected by the project in Madhya Pradesh, 6,724 continue to live in submerged area. Of these, 884 project-affected families (PAFs) were in the process of shifting, Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Balyan had told the Upper House. The minister had also said that all the PAFs had been given resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) package as per the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) award and the Supreme Court order. There are no PAFs remaining in the submergence areas in Gujarat and Maharashtra, he had said.
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