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Tribal body demands scrapping of Garudeshwar weir

Press Trust of India  |  Vadodara 

A tribal outfit has urged the Union Environment Ministry and the Gujarat Government to immediately stop the construction of the Garudeshwar weir, alleging that necessary procedures were not followed for its clearance.

"Work on the Garudeshwar weir, proposed about 12 km downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, was begun without any social or environmental impact assessment, public consultation and environmental clearance from the Environmental Sub-Group (ESG) of Narmada Control Authority's (NCA)," the 70 Gam Adivasi Sangathan said in a letter to the secretary of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as the Gujarat Chief Secretary

The Sangathan is an organisation of 70 tribal-dominated villages located near the Sardar Sarovar Dam across the Narmada river at Kevadiya in Narmada district, about 90 km from Vadodara.

In support of their demand, they have also enclosed a copy of the letter dated March 24, 2013, written by Shekhar Singh, a senior member of NCA's environmental sub-group, to its chairperson V Rajagopalan, secretary of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, in which similar demands have been raised.

In his letter, Singh stated that the ESG has not yet cleared construction of the Garudeshwar weir and urged Rajgopalan to direct the Government of Gujarat (GoG) to stop its construction and other related activities immediately.

Besides demanding submission of a full feasibility report, environment and social impact assessment report, including impact during construction and operation of the Garudeshwar weir to the ESG and seek its clearance for this work, the letter also asked the ESG to direct the Gujarat government not to start any such work until it receives ESG clearance.

Meanwhile, the Sangathan has announced a protest programme on October 31 during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the world's highest statue in memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi near the dam site on October 31.

Sangthan has threatened to continue the agitation until their demands are conceded in writing.

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First Published: Tue, October 29 2013. 22:03 IST