The Madhya Pradesh government headed by Kamal Nath has threatened the Gujarat government of restricting the flow of Narmada into the state on the pretext of Gujarat government not taking up the matter of rehabilitation seriously.
According to the reports, Madhya Pradesh Minister for Narmada Valley Development Surendra Singh Baghel on Saturday threatened not to release the Narmada water for the Sardar Sarovar dam unless the Gujarat government and the Centre addressed its concerns about the dam-affected people.
He has accused the Gujarat government and the Centre of not addressing the concerns about the project-affected people. He also alleged that the Gujarat government was not serious about meetings under the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to help rehabilitate those people hit by the project. Baghel had also accused Gujarat government of not releasing water for power generation.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has now warned Madhya Pradesh not to play politics over Narmada water and that both were bound by the ruling of the Supreme Court and the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in the matter.
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel accused the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh of playing politics over the issue. He said that MP government’s ‘threat’ showed a lack of understanding of the legal agreement reached under the NCA.
Nitin Patel clarified that under the NCA agreement the water could be released for power generation only after it reached a level of 131 metres in the dam and that the state had already paid Rs. 400 crore to rehabilitate the project-affected people.
“We will get our share of Narmada water that is due to us. It doesn’t befit the Congress to keep aside the entire interest of the nation to play politics over water,” said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
“The party is unable to digest its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and is now coming up with ways to politicise matters that have already been decided,” said Rupani. “The water is being distributed as per the share decided by the NCA and no state can suddenly decide to change it.”
Chief Minister Rupani also clarified that the Madhya Pradesh government first raised the issue of displaced people on May 27 stating that over 6,000 were yet to be rehabilitated. He added that the Madhya Pradesh boycotted the meeting of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Regulation Committee on July 18.
“The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group of the NCA held a meeting on the issue on July 12, but no senior official of the MP government participated. They also boycotted a meeting of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Regulation Committee on July 18.”
However, Baghel contended that MP government officials had to shun the NCA meeting “because they (Gujarat government and the Centre) are not taking us seriously”.
The two hydel electricity generation plants at the Sardar Sarovar dam have a capacity of 1,450 MW, which is shared by Madhya Pradesh (57 per cent), Maharashtra (27 per cent) and Gujarat (16 per cent).