Skip to main content

Rejected by MP, "main purpose" of Garudeshwar weir across Narmada is to supply water to industry

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst fresh controversy over the Gujarat government’s decision to go ahead with the construction of Garudeshwar weir across the Narmada river, allegedly without environmental clearance (click HERE to read), a top official in Gandhinagar Sachivalaya has confided to www.counterview.net that the “real purpose of the weir is to supply Narmada water to the industrial complexes in the nearby regions, especially in Bharuch district.” The official, who did not want to be named, said, “The state-owned Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has been asked to work out final details of the industrial areas that would need the water.”
In fact, the official said, already the GIDC has begun the process of laying down a 128 km long pipeline to one of the biggest projects up to the area – the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) in Dahej, with an investment of Rs 70,000 crore in alliance with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). “Initially, it has been agreed to supply 50 million litres per day of (MLD) water to the PCPIR, going to the biggest industrial area of the western region. The PCPIR’s actual needs go up to 300 MLD, and the weir alone can fulfill it”, the official said.
The weir, about 12 kilometres downstream of the Narmada dam, is going to be 1,100 metres long and 31.75 metres high, and it would store one million acre feet (MAF) of water, one-fourth of the current capacity of the Narmada dam’s reservoir. To cost the state coffers around Rs 426 crore (at 2010-11 prices), its original purpose, as envisaged in the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT), was to store water and reuse it to produce power. The water stored in the 12-km-stretch was planned to be pumped back into the dam, and then again sent through reversible turbines to generate power.
However, the official underlined, “With the Madhya Pradesh having officially conveyed to the Gujarat government that it is not interested in the power produced through the weir, a decision needed to be taken whether to go ahead with the weir at all, as it would not fulfill the NWDT award provisions. Hence, it was decided at a high-level meeting that the state government would go ahead with the weir for two reasons – one, the 12-km-stretch would be turned into a huge reservoir to attract tourists, the two, the water stored in it would be supplied to industry.”
The official said, “The reason for the decision to give water stored up to Garudeshwar weir to industry is economic. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), the Narmada project’s implementing agency, which has already spent more than Rs 40,000 crore on the Narmada project, and will have to shell out another Rs 30,000 crore to complete the project, badly needs funds, particularly at a time when thousands of crores are pending to be paid by Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. With about one MAF of water available, Gujarat can easily sell weir water at the rate of Rs 25 per 1,000 litres to industry, which is the current SSNNL rate for industry.”
Sources said, with the Madhya Pradesh government “not interested” in the weir, if one went strictly by the NWDT award, the weir should have been “dropped”, as the neighbouring state’s share in the project cost was to the tune of 57 per cent, equal to the share in power under the NWDT Award, followed by Maharashtra’s 27 per cent and Gujarat’s 16 per cent. “Madhya Pradesh undertook a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which suggested that it was unviable to fund the weir and by spending Rs 242 crore. In fact, the power produced from the weir would be costlier than what is available from the Central grid. Based on the study, it decided to withdraw”, the official said.
Apart from providing water to industry, the Gujarat government’s another main reason for going ahead with the weir is to develop the whole area as a top tourism spot, with different types of water sports activities being undertaken up to the weir. Besides, it is amidst waters up to this weir that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi wants to implement his dream project, the Statue of Unity, as the world’s tallest statue – three times higher than the Statue of Liberty in New York. A political requirement of Modi, the statue is proposed in the memory of Sardar Patel, India’s Iron Man.

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.