INDORE: Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh high court on Tuesday directed the state government to constitute a high-level committee under chief secretary to discuss and resolve issues pertaining to Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canal project in Narmada valley.
A double bench of Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice J K Maheshwari, while hearing a PIL over Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar Canal project, directed that a high level committee, comprising chief secretary, principal secretary of Narmada valley development department (NVDD) and secretary, agriculture and water resources will hear issues raised by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and those in the PIL in first week of March.
Medha Patkar, appearing in person, highlighted the adverse impact that has occurred and bound to occur in the coming monsoon due to non-implementation of the ‘on-farm development’ and ‘command area development’ in the canal project. Lack of adequate drainage works in numerous villages from Phase – I to Phase – IV of the project has caused massive loss and affected farmers are neither counted nor compensated. HC also took cognizance of ‘action taken report’, filed by state government and affidavit filed by expert committee of ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), highlighting inadequacies in canal and command area planning and execution by NVDA, which has led to severe impact on agricultural land causing crop loss.
Court pulled up state government over the way the project is being executed and observed that the government is treating it in a very non-serious manner, which is evident from the recent report of expert committee of MoEF, filed after their recent visit in January 2014 and in a series of earlier reports, recommendations and letters of MoEF.
Patkar expressed satisfaction over HC’s direction to form high level committee and said it would lead to a fair, open and conclusive dialogue on various outstanding issues, so that fruits of the project reach actual beneficiaries and needy farmers on time.
Issues of rehabilitation and compensation for farmers, losing less than 60% land would also be discussed before the committee.

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