New Delhi | The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to inform it whether the issue of release of adequate water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam to the downstream areas of the Narmada river has been referred to the Narmada Control Authority.
A bench headed by Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to inform it about the matter within four weeks "Counsel for the respondent(s) seeks and is granted four weeks' time to have instructions as to whether the matter was referred to the Narmada Control Authority, and if so, what the outcome of the same is," the bench said while posting the matter fro hearing on January 12, 2024.
The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti and the Bharuch Citizen Council challenging a 2019 order of the National Green Tribunal which refused to entertain the plea noting there was already a tribunal to adjudicate the matter.
The NGT had said two bodies -- the Water Dispute Tribunal and the Narmada Control Authority -- were already constituted to look into the issues related to the river.
The petition had sought release of adequate water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam to the downstream areas of the Narmada river.
It had also sought 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.
It claimed that the drying up of the river bed was causing an 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 an immediate intervention was needed.