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Nath accuses Narmada Control Authority of ‘partisan attitude’

‘It had drifted away from its mandated task and failed to protect the interests of party States’

Alleging that the Narmada Control Authority was functioning in a “partisan” manner, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has written to the Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat claiming it had drifted away from its mandated task and failed to protect the interests of party States.

Mr. Nath has urged the Minister to direct the NCA Chairman to convene a meeting to resolve these issues at the earliest.

‘Not impartial’

The Chief Minister, in a letter dated September 12, wrote, “This agency has on many occasions failed to adhere to the principle of impartiality in its decisions which is of utmost importance in the federal structure of the Constitution with water being a concurrent subject in the 7th Schedule.”

Stating that the NCA had hurt Madhya Pradesh’s interest, Mr. Nath listed a series of “examples of partisan attitude”. First, he alleged, the NCA had taken a unilateral decision to allow the Gujarat government to stop power generation at a river bed power house in 2018-2019, with Madhya Pradesh’s share of water, to fill up the Sardar Sarovar Dam this season.

Further, wrote Mr. Nath, the NCA Chairman had “conveniently ignored” the State’s request to review its decisions.

Mr. Nath wrote the State was unnecessarily burdened financially as Gujarat had failed to pay for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), and was required to shell out ₹69 crore to settle pending claims. “Unless these claims are settled, it cannot be said that the R&R has been completed fully,” he wrote.

He said the Supreme Court order in 2017 that the project-affected vacate the submergence area in around six months left the State little time, due to the pendency of litigations. In the process Madhya Pradesh had to spend ₹352.26 crore and Rs. 266.5 crore on different occasions.

‘Gujarat required to pay’

“Gujarat is required to pay for these expenses also to Madhya Pradesh as they are expenses contingent to R&R of the project arising out of the court orders,” he wrote.

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