Stating that the BJP government is taking political advantage of the Sardar Sarovar project, former Prime Minister Suresh Mehta said on Tuesday that the rehabilitation of the Affected Families Project (AFP) is still incomplete.
“As the Sardar Sarovar dam project benefited Gujarat, political parties had decided in the past not to use the project for political gain, regardless of who was in power. Just two days ago, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) took credit for the project,” Mehta said during the launch of the “Sacchai Gujarat Ki” book.
The book written by Professor Hemant Kumar Shah has been published by Gujarat Khet Vikas Parishad.
“At a time when Narmada’s water is still not reaching the people, the project is being misused to score points during elections,” he added.
Mehta said the state government has been silent on the issue of families affected by the project.
“When the dam reaches its full reservoir level, it was estimated that there would be 41,000 PAFs. Nobody is taking it. So far 11,000 families have settled in 200 odd settlements,” he asserted.
Mehta was the state’s prime minister from 1995 to 1996 and headed a BJP government in the state. He resigned from the party in 2007 and joined the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), founded by former Prime Minister Keshubhai Patel in 2012.
Criticizing the prime minister, Mehta said he has official documents in his possession showing how the state government had “illegally” raised money in 2005 to organize a “Sharadostsav” in Kutch district.
“The money was spent on organizing free bus rides and food for people who attended the event,” Mehta said, adding that the bank account opened to collect money still exists in the name of the district collector.