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Modi to go on hunger strike over govt's decision not to raise Sardar Sarovar dam height
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | April 15, 2006 16:27 IST
Last Updated: April 15, 2006 18:31 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said he will begin 51 hours of hunger strike near Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on Sunday. He conveyed this to newsmen at a press conference at Gujarat Bhavan in New Delhi.
"I am going on a hunger strike to protest against the illegal decision of the Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz to suspend raising of the height of the Narmada dam to 121.92 mt from 110 mt at present as per the directive of the Supreme Court. The decison of the minister is a gross violation of the order of the apex court. The other reason is to build up pressure on behalf of 5,00,00000 Gujaratis who would benefit immensely due to raising of the dam's height," Modi said.
Asked if he would take up the case before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi said that he had said whatever he wanted to say before the Review Committee of the Narmada Control Authority.
"Since there was a tie, Soz could not take a decision even as the chairman of the committee. Incidentally this was the first meeting on Narmada after two years. After the decision of the NCA on March 8, 2006, Minister of Water Resources Soz had given a statement on March 11, 2006, that the decision of NCA was premature which indicated that the government of India had premeditated this move which went in favour of the agitators. Where were those who were trying to champion the cause of the people when 4,00,000 Kashmiri Pandits became homeless in Delhi and other shelters. This is nothing short of a drama to put pressure on the government. It is a battle between development and those who want to stop development," he charged.
He alleged that Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had deprived the state of 400 megawatts of electricity by supporting the Centre for political reasons. "He has stabbed the people of his state in the back," he said.
"121.92 mt height would give 1,450 megawatts of electricity, which would be divided between the four states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. We are spending Rs 1 crore per month to do the cleaning of the Sardar Sarovar," he said.
He clarified that the four states had time till September 2006 to rehabilitate those displaced because of the sumerging of their lands due to raising of the height. "The Supreme Court has set up a mechanism called Grievances Redressal Authority under the chairmanship of retired judges of Supreme Court or high courts and they are functioning well. If there is a problem, the individual concerned can go to GRAs and not organisations. I appeal to the people of Gujarat to remain peaceful and put pressure on the government," he said.