Monday, July 03, 2017

Narmada dam at full height to submerge another 10 lakh trees, 86,300 hundred plus yrs old: Villagers protest

By Our Representative
A new movement has begun in Narmada valley, with facts coming to light that in all 10 lakh trees would be submerged along with 192 villages and one town, Dharampuri, with the Narmada dam’s height reaching 138.64 metres, the full reservoir level. According to an expert spot survey, in the 38 villages where the 10 lakh trees would be destroyed, 86,300 trees are more than 100 years old.
The Narmada BachaoAndolan (NBA), the top anti-dam organization fighting for the dam oustees’ cause, organized demonstrations against destruction of trees in Badwani town, as also in the district’s Aad to valda, Jangarva, Bagud and other villages.
Pledging to ensure that they would not allow the authorities to uproot more trees, the demonstrations were held even as the Madhya Pradesh government began major a programme to plant 25 lakh trees in Badwani district alone. 
Objecting to the move, NBA in a statement said, “Shockingly, the state government has decided to take up the programme, but refuses to give an answer as why is it wanting to destroy hundreds of years trees in the valley.”
According to reliance information, so far, 3,385 hectares (ha) of jungles have already been washed away as a result of the Narmada dam’s height having been raised to 138.64 metres. In each ha there were between 1,600 and 2,000 trees.
“Nobody knows who would look after the new plantations. There is no plan on this”, NBA said, adding, “Already, the plants claimed to have been planted during the recent government-sponsored Narmada Seva Yatra in the dam-affected areas to compensate for the loss of trees because of the dam are beginning to die.”
Calling its campaign “Save trees, save life”, NBA warned, by allowing trees to into submergence along the Narmada valley environment of the entire area would be adversely affected.”
In all, the state government claimed, it would plant three crore trees across seven districts – Badwani, Khargaon, Alirajpur, Amarkantak, Anooppur, Dhar and Jabalpur – though it did not say which trees would be planted.
NBA said, “The tree plantation plan has little meaning, because the state government has given false information of compensatory tree plantation to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) following 3,385 ha of forests having gone into submergence.”
It added, “Based on this false information, the inter-state body NCA gave environmental clearance to allow the dam to be raised.”
“There was no ground-level verification of the information provided by the state government. In fact, a senior NCA official, after visiting a small area, gave the report allowing environmental clearance for the dam to be raised”, NBA said.
“In fact, there was no effort to find out whether compensatory plantations in place of dense forests of Satpuda and Vindhya would help environment in any way”, NBA said, adding, “Ground realities are totally different. In place of these jungles currently the wild weed, babul, is flourishing.”

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