The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused to entertain a plea seeking the release of adequate water from the Sardar Sarovar dam to the downstream areas of the Narmada River, noting that there was already a tribunal to adjudicate the matter.
A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore said two bodies — the Water Dispute Tribunal and the Narmada Control Authority — were already constituted to look into the issues related to the river.
“Therefore, it would be appropriate that the present matter be also placed before the Narmada Tribunal so as to consider all aspects of the grievance raised by the applicant. The applicant would be free to represent his case before the tribunal,” the bench, also comprising expert member Satyawan Singh Garbyal, said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by the Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti and the Bharuch Citizen Council, seeking directions to make an urgent provision for the release of 1,500 cusecs of water from the Sardar Sarovar dam to the downstream areas of the river on a daily basis.
The plea claimed that the drying up of the river bed was causing immense damage to the environment, agriculture and the local industries.
The petitioners claimed that the river was reduced to a small stream as only 600 cusecs of water were being released from the dam.
The petition referred to a letter written by the Narmada and Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpsar department, which had said the water released for the downstream areas of the river was not sufficient and immediate intervention was needed.