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Five star activism stalls development activity

There was understandable criticism on the impact of five star activists on the judiciary mentioned by Prime Minister Modi in a Joint Conference of Chief Justices of High Courts and Chief Ministers on 15 April. Parties in opposition jumped into the fray and were critical of the Prime Minister casting aspersions on the judiciary. 
I tend to agree with the defence provided by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He pointed to the damage caused by such activism delaying the Sardar Sarovar project in terms of providing water to the beneficiary states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat... and to the huge escalation in costs of the project. 
Jaitley referred to Madhya Pradesh registering over 20 per cent growth pa in agriculture in the last two years and to Gujarat villages receiving water which they never had earlier, thanks to the Sardar Sarovar Project. He mentioned the huge escalation in costs of the project due to agitation by activists and to the population denied benefits for years. 
I had pointed to this earlier. For several years in a row, Gujarat has been registering double digit growth in agriculture thanks to making water available to its 18,000 odd villages and to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan registering similar growth in agriculture. Medha Patkar and other activists, receiving liberal funding from domestic and  international sources, vigorously opposed and delayed the project with the ostensible purpose of protecting the interests of a couple of thousand that would be displaced by the construction of the dam, but harmed the livelihood and interests of a few crore. By all means, the activists can demand suitable relief and rehabilitation of persons to be displaced. But in this they should factor the interests of a larger population designed to benefit from such projects. 
I had pointed to the loss and opportunity costs suffered in causing avoidable delays in completing and commissioning the Koodankulam nuclear power project. In fact, the entire cost of Rs 14,000 crore spent on the project could have been recovered by now through the huge volume of power it would have generated; if only it was enabled to be completed on time and this was stalled at a time when the state was reeling under severe power shortages forcing TANGEDCO to buy power at high cost from private producers and from other states plunging it into humongous debts of over a lakh of crore rupees. 


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