Sardar Sarovar: Corruption in rehabilitation

Sardar Sarovar: Corruption in rehabilitation

The Order of the Supreme Court dated 11-05-2009 and the Jabalpur High Court Order are part of a series of orders that have been issued from time to time by the Courts in the matter of rampant corruption in virtually every aspect of rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar project affected persons. It is well-known that Justice Shravan Shankar Jha Commission of Inquiry which was constituted by the Order of the Jabalpur High Court dated 21-08-2008 is carrying on its investigation into the hundreds of fake registries and corruption at the resettlement sites. Now the Supreme Court has, while hearing an appeal filed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, stayed and modified the Order of the Jabalpur High Court dated 24-04-2009 in which the High Court had issued a stay on the cash and cheque disbursement of livelihood grant owing to corruption and a Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Shri K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P.
Sathasivam and Justice B.S Chauhan has now ruled that " hitherto no rehabilitation grant - whether by cash or cheque-based shall be given without the scrutiny of the Justice Jha Commission.

In the ongoing case on corruption, Narmada Bachao Andolan had, till May 12th, 2009 placed before the High Court additional documents on record and more concrete examples of ongoing corruption in various aspects including house plot allotment to PAFs, false claims of rehabilitation entitlement and irregularities in the alternative livelihood grant disbursement for the landless. The GoMP and the Narmada Valley Development Authority had filed some response. Giving a prompt oral response in the Court itself, NBA affirmed that, "the High Court itself has categorically recognized in its earlier order that corruption in rehabilitation is infact leading to violation of the right to life of the PAFs. The same is true of all areas of corruption". The Government, on the other hand, is continuing with its approach of siding with the corrupt
and the guilty and infact intimidating those who are genuinely exposing corruption. The Narmada Control Authority, which is an independent statutory monitoring and regulatory authority has, till date, not filed any response / affidavit in the case which is going on for almost 2 years, while the Government is trying to debunk the evidences of corruption being exposed by

Pronouncing yet another interim order, the High Court Bench comprising Chief Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh directed that", Justice S.S. Jha Commission shall, according to the directions of the Supreme Court, keep up its role of monitoring and scrutiny in the disbursal of every kind of rehabilitation grant and shall immediately begin investigation and take appropriate action on all the cases of irregularities and corruption pointed out by NBA to this Court. All the Respondents including the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the Narmada Valley Development Authority shall file their responses to all the Interim Applications filed by the NBA in detail and the Narmada Control Authority shall file a separate affidavit and response".

Medha Patkar pleaded before the Court on behalf of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, assisted by Advocate Abhijit Bhowmik and Ashish Mandloi. Counsel Shekhar Bhargav pleaded on behalf of the State agencies. The matter has been posted for 19-06-2009.

Medha Patkar/ Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)