Daily News Analysis, Feb 9 2017, New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed state governments to ensure the resettlement and rehabilitation of families ousted because of the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The apex court bench led by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar ordered a compensation of Rs 60 lakh to 681 families in Madhya Pradesh under the special compensation package. Those under the package who own two hectares of land are to be paid Rs 45 lakh, whereas at least 1,385 families will be paid Rs 15 lakh each.

The bench observed that the monetary compensation was awarded in lieu of non-availability of land.

“You will get the land when you pay the money,” CJI Khehar told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing the Centre.

The bench further added the land would have to be cleared out once the compensation was paid out. Families would be ‘forcibly evicted, if need be’ post July 31 — the deadline for the Centre to adhere to the terms of the order.

While the monetary compensation was limited to families in Madhya Pradesh, the bench directed rehabilitation and resettlement for families in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra as well.

This order ends a 38-year ordeal for the affected families. While some were happy as the decision brought much needed closure, activist Medha Patkar was left disappointed.

“Settlement of a judicial matter does not end people’s struggles,” Patkar said. “How can you resettle 45,000 families and a 700-year-old community within six months,” she added. “For those who have never seen money, this is a big sum. However, the amount awarded is not enough,” she said.

During the day long hearing, the court addressed grievances of 681 families. At one point, the apex court had proposed to set up a three-member committee of former apex court judges to look into the compensation and rehabilitation issue for the oustees of the project, though this was withdrawn at the end of the day.

Web: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-sc-finalises-compensation-for-mp-s-narmada-families-2316793