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Narmada dam creates imbalance between tribals: Varghese
June 09, 2006 02:29 IST
The Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada has created imbalance between project-affected tribals and those not affected by the project due to their rehabilitation and resettlement, noted columnist B G Varghese said in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Varghese said due to the generous rehabilitation package for the project-affected tribals they have come in the privileged class.
He was delivering Chimanbhai Patel annual memorial lecture "Dam, Development, Displacement and tribals."
"The government should not forget those who are not affected by the project but are living in the tribal belt around the dam. A percentage of the earnings from the electricity and irrigation charges should be diverted towards uplift of Bhil tribes living in the South Gujarat area by the state government," he said.
Varghese, who had visited Sardar Sarovar Dam and surrounding areas on Friday, said in his interaction with a project-affected familiy of Laxmanhai he came to know that his family used to have 3.5 acres of land prior to their displacement.
However, due to the rehabilitation package he owns 45 acres of land now, Varghese added. He said this shows that project-affected families are previleged groups.
Varghese said spread of naxalism in the tribal region of the country has been due to neglect of tribal areas.
"The tribals need to be brought to the mainstream by imparting education and their overall development," he added.
Speaking about Sardar Sarovar Project, he said it would be the real challenge for the state government to deliver the promises made during the construction of the dam.
"It is important to see that effluent section of societies should not be the only benificiaries of the project. The fruits of the project should reach to poor and deprived also," he added.
"I hope that by 2007 irrigation facilities would be available to many parts of the state through the dam if the laying of canals is completed in time," he added.