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Madhya Pradesh yet to pay up over Rs 3,100 crore as share of Narmada Project: Gujarat government to NCA

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial statement, the Gujarat government’s powerful arm implementing the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), has said that Madhya Pradesh has yet to pay up a whopping Rs 3,159.88 crore against the nieghbouring state’s share of expenditure in the SSP, followed by Maharashtra’s Rs 1,437.50 crore and Rajasthan’s Rs 471.70 crore. The statement is an “update” as on May 12, 2013 of the “Status Report on SSP”, sent by the SSNNL to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) – the Government of India-appointed inter-state authority to give a final nod to the project’s various components – in December 2012.
The total amount the three states must pay up, according to the SSNNL, comes to Rs 5,059.08 crore. A further breakup, worked out by the SSNNL, suggests that out of Rs 3,159.88 crore that Madhya Pradesh must pay up, nearly two-thirds, or Rs 1,826.80 crore, is as interest, piling up for years for its failure to make regular payment against the project cost. As for Maharashtra, it must pay up Rs 865.32 crore as interest, followed by Rajasthan’s Rs 471.10 crore.
An inter-state project, while Gujarat would get the lion’s share of irrigation water from the SSP once the project’s various components are completed, including the canal network and the dam height (which are pending for long), Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are already getting the benefit of 1,450 MW of power, being produced from the river-bed and canal-based power plants. The power plants are operational to full capacity, with Madhya Pradesh (the biggest defaulter in sharing expenditure) getting 57 per cent of power, followed by Maharashtra (27 per cent), and Gujarat (16 per cent).
The total expenditure that has been incurred on the SSP comes to 38,536.14 crore, the statement says, adding, of this, Gujarat should have actually spend Rs 29,614.16 crore, Madhya Pradesh Rs 5,286.92 crore, Maharashra 2,504.37 crore, and Rajasthan Rs 1,118.34 crore. However, interestingly, Gujarat would have spent a much higher amount, as the neighbouring states have yet to pay up most of the amount. And, not only have the three neighbouring states refused to pay the full amount to Gujarat, the SSNNL statement goes on to show that they have put most of the amount they must pay up in the “disputed” category.
Thus, Madhya Pradesh has told Gujarat that it would not pay up the “disputed” amount of Rs 2,483.85 crore, including the interest and Rs 644.73 against rehabilitating the oustees; Maharashtra Rs 1,176.55 crore, which include the interest and Rs 305.39 against rehabilitating the oustees; and Rajasthan Rs 440.30 crore – most of which is interest. According to the three states “the undisputed” share they are ready to pay are – Madhya Pradesh Rs 676.03 crore, Maharashtra Rs 290.95 crore, and Rajasthan Rs 30.80 crore.
Pointing out that all these figures are of the 2008-09 price level, the statement does not say how much more the SSNNL would have to spend now, though it does give details of the work yet to be done. Thus, most interestingly, out of 17.92 lakh hectares (ha) area which Gujarat must develop for irrigation with Narmada waters, the state has “created” an irrigation potential of 5.59 lakh ha by developing the canal network, of which only one-third is actually being irrigated. On the other hand, Rajasthan’s progress is much better – it has completed 2.05 lakh ha, out of 2.46 lakh ha it has decided to.
Incomplete canal network: The statement gives important details of the work which remains to be done over and above raising the dam height from the current 121.92 metres to 138.64 metres, which is dependent on rehabilitation and resettlement of the Narmada dam oustees. While the main canal, which goes right into Rajasthan, has been completed, out of 17.72 lakh ha to be irrigated from the Narmada waters in Gujarat, the work for even Phase-I (up to 144 km from the Narmada dam) has not been completed – here, the distribution network, including sub-minors, remain incomplete in about 18-20 per cent areas. Thus, for sub-minors, 82 per cent of mudwork is over, 78 per cent of excavation is over, and 83 per cent of lining work is over.
Further on, in Phase-II, Part A (from 144 km to 263 km), branch canals remain to be completed on the Saurashtra side in about 10 per cent of area, and distribution network in 85 per cent of area. Further, while mudwork for the distribution system in this phase is over for 40 per cent of the area, followed by excavation (23 per cent area) and lining work (14 per cent), the work for sub-minors –the field channels that take water up to the farms – has not even begun till now.
Coming to Phase-II (B), from 263 km to 357 km, while the branch canals are completed in 90 per cent of the area, the distribution network is yet to be completed in about 40 per cent of area – only 56 per cent of mudwork, 23 per cent of excavation and 14 per cent of lining is over. As for sub-minors, like in the previous phase, here, too, the work has not begun. In phase-II (C), from 357 km to 458 km, while the main canal is “almost complete”, the branch canals remain to be completed in 80 per cent of cases, with mudwork completed in 42 per cent of cases, excavation in 83 per cent of cases, and lining in 20 per cent of cases.
The situation with regard to the Kutch branch canal in this phase is equally bad – mudwork is over in 67 per cent area, excavation in 74 per cent area, and lining in 40 per cent. As for the distribution work, 68 per cent of mudwork, 52 per cent of excavation and 6 per cent of lining work is over. The work for sub-minors, like in all the other Phase-II sections, has not even begun.

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