Skip to main content

NGO demands to stop work on weir across Narmada river, begun "without environmental clearance"

By Our Representative
In a strongly worded letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, top Gujarat-based environmental body Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has demanded that “immediately” should be taken to “stop the construction of Garudeshwar weir”, being constructed across the Narmada river, about 12 km downstream of the Narmada dam. Citing a letter written by a senior official attached with the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), responsible for giving clearances to the Narmada project, the PSS states, the work on the weir has begun “without any social or environmental impact assessment, public consultation and environmental clearance from the environmental sub-group (ESG) of NCA.”
“This is very clear if one looks closely at the letter dated March 24, 2013 written by senior member Shekhar Singh of the ESG of NCA to its chairperson Dr V Rajagopalan, secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India. Singh has expressed surprise over Gujarat government’s decision to start work for the construction of the Garudeshwar weir without obtaining necessary environment and social impact assessment and clearance from the ESG of NCA”, Rohit Prajapati and Lakhan Musafir, who have signed the letter, say.
Singh has been quoted as saying that “Garudeshwar weir, to be built 12 km downstream of the Narmada dam with a live storage capacity of 32.9 million cubic meters (MCM), is a component of the Sardar Sarovar Project, as was envisaged by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award of 1979”. Singh adds, “However, as far as I recollect, the environmental and social impacts of construction and operation of Garudeshwar weir (GW) have never been brought before the ESG of NCA,” Prajapati states.
Singh further states that, in his estimation, “the construction and operation of the weir will have significant social and environmental impacts, since it will entail a reservoir of about 12 km in length and unknown width and submergence area. The weir will have the potential of affecting the fisheries in the immediately surrounding areas and also of affecting the downstream river and its biodiversity, and other related aspects. This is especially because the weir will control the flow of water and silt downstream.”
He adds, “However, I do not know whether there has been a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and social impacts of the GW and its contribution to the cumulative impact of all the projects and activities in the area. And if there has been, I do not believe that this has been put up to the ESG for its approval.”
At the end of the letter, Singh demands, “If this is correct, I find this problematic as ESG has not yet cleared the construction of this weir. Under the circumstance, I urge you to:
"(1) Ask the Government of Gujarat (GoG) to immediately stop construction of the weir. All other activities related to the GW should also be stopped.
"(2) Ask Government of Gujarat/ Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) to submit the full feasibility report, environment and social impact assessment report including impacts during construction and operation of the GW to the ESG and seek clearance of the ESG for this work.
"(3) Ask Gujarat government not to start any work in this regard till the ESG clears this.”
In view of the “above facts on record”, the PSS has demanded that the Gujarat government should “immediately stop construction of the Garudeshwar weir, stop all activities other activities related to the weir, ask the SSNNL to submit the full feasibility report, environment and social impact assessment report, including impacts during construction and operation of the weir to the ESG after due public hearing process in the affected area.” A copy of the letter has also been sent to the chief secretary, Gujarat government, and principal secretary, environment and forests, Gujarat government.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”