India: UN joins Medha and NBA for public release of Union Report Print E-mail
Saturday April 15 2006

UN raps Centre on dam height

New Delhi, April 14: In what would be a shot in the arm for Medha Patkar and her colleagues, the United Nations has expressed concern about the decision to further raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river and has asked India to release the report of the findings of the three Union ministers who recently visited Narmada valley.

The UN has also urged India to take immediate steps to ensure that any further raising of the dam height will not result in the violation of the human rights of those affected.

“We are concerned about the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to further raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river from the present 110.64 metres to 121.92 metres and reports indicating that this will result in the submergence of villages and displacement of over 35,000 families,” read the statement issued on Thursday.

Hina Jilani, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders; Miloon Kothari, the special rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living; and Rodolfo Stavenhagen, the special rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, are the signatories to the statement.

“According to a Supreme Court judgment in 2000, any further increase with respect to the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam should be preceded by the implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation measures. However, according to reports received, adequate rehabilitation has not yet been provided for those affected at the current dam height, many of them indigenous peoples and farmers.” “Official estimates say that an additional 24,421 families are to be displaced,” they observed.