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The Narmada controversy

Baba Amte at Narmada Andolan The Sardar Sarovar dam, being constructed at Kevadia in Gujarat, threatens to displace nearly 300,000 people from the villages, mainly tribals. To be built at a cost of Rs 440 billion, it is estimated that the dam could submerge 44,363 hectares of fertile land and 40,332 hectares of India's best natural forests.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan, championing the cause of the tribals, points out that contrary to the government claims of providing water in Saurashtra, the dam will cut water supply from 59 of the 69 talukas in the region. In Kutch, 5 of the 9 talukas will be left dry. Moreover, the heavy expenditure incurred through the dam will not leave money for other development schemes.

Baba Amte at Narmada Andolan As a result of the NBA's agitation, the Supreme Court has stayed the dam's construction for two-and-a-half years; the dam was 80.3 metres high when construction was halted. The Gujarat government has applied for the dam to be built at a height of 110 metres. The court has asked the government for proper compensation to the tribals -- land for land and proper rehabilitation. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 24.


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