Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Tuesday claimed as many as 7,000 cases regarding the displacement of people due to the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam are pending before the Indore-based Grievance Redressal Authority (GRA) in the absence of judges.
Many areas along the banks of the Narmada River in the Barwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur districts of Madhya Pradesh are submerged due to the backwaters of the dam in Gujarat.
A large number of displaced persons, led by Patkar, staged a sit-in protest at the office of the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), a government department, in Indore on Tuesday over alleged discrepancies in the rehabilitation of people and the award of compensation.
"The GRA does not have a single judge for months, whereas according to a 2015 order of the apex court, it should have five judges," said Patkar.
She claimed currently 7,000 complaints of dam outsees are pending in the GRA, but they are not being heard due to the non-appointment of new judges for months.
An MP government official said initially there was a provision to appoint five judges in the GRA, but later the number of judges was reduced to three due to less number of complaints.
Currently, all three posts of judges in GRA are vacant and a proposal has been sent to the MP government for their appointment.
"Generally, retired judges of the High Court are appointed in the GRA, constituted as an independent body. The dam project affected people who are dissatisfied with NVDA's decisions do take refuge in GRA," the official said.
Patkar also claimed that at least 1,000 families in Madhya Pradesh displaced by the Sardar Sarovar dam have not been properly rehabilitated despite separate orders from the Supreme Court and various tribunals, and many of these families are still forced to live in tin sheds.
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