Skip to main content

'Persona non grata' for Gujarat, neighbouring MP govt to take Medha Patkar's advice on Narmada canals

By Our Representative
Gujarat may have refused to deal with Medha Patkar, well-known social activist and head of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), calling her “anti-Narmada” for her long-time opposition to the Narmada dam, on one hand, even as favouring the tribal oustees. So much so that she was treated as “persona non grata” the last over two decades. However, in a major breakthrough to her, the neighbourng BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has been forced to deal with her over contentious issues related two other big dams built on Narmda river – Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar.
Chief Justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Indore, AK Khanvilkar has directed the government of Madhya Pradesh to constitute a high level committee under the chief secretary to discuss and resolve issues pertaining to the Indira Sagar project’s and Omkareshwar project’s canals in the Narmada valley. He said, Medha Patkar and four other representatives of NBA should be invited to a meeting of this committee to be convened by the chief secretary at Bhopal in the first week of March 2014, to be attended by senior state and central officials.
The development has come as a boost to Patkar personally, after she joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which she believes is more of a movement than a political party. The High Court direction said, to quote an NBA communiqué, that “inputs/suggestions of NBA should be taken for compliance on various measures and resolution of issues raised by NBA in the PIL on the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canals.”
The development follows an expert panel of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) stating that out of 36,000 hectares (ha) in Phase I, on-farm development (OFD) works have been carried on just about 3,700 ha “and the same is abysmally disproportionate to the irrigation.”
The MoEF panel views poor work on Narmada-based canals “as a serious dereliction from consideration of irrigation and drainage management”, observing “serious lapses due to deficient design and planning, inadequate attention to operation maintenance, canal development works and link drains not concurrently constructed, no restoration, even after breaches in August 2013.
The panel has been pointed out that “poor quality canal work causing severe damage to farmers, which should result in imposing penalty on the contracting agency.” On the issues related with Narmada bank’s irrigated tract (in those villages in close proximity to the river, where 70-80 per cent irrigation exists), it has been suggested that the Narmada Valley Development Agency (NVDA) should defer all works, until “a final view”, has been taken in the matter.
“The NVDA itself has accepted that 40 villages in Phase III of Indira Sagar, in Badwani district, have 100 per cent irrigation, but overlap with the Indira Sagar command area. Similarly, dozens of villages in the proposed Omkareshwar command area are irrigated in the tehsils of Maheshwar, Manawar, Dharampuri and Kukshi”, the NBA communiqué says, adding, “About 88 villages in Indira Sagar and 31 in Omkareshwar, i.e. 31, 570 hecatres command is being re-irrigated.”
“MoEF has also taken the position that as per the clearance of 1987 to Indira Sagar and the Narmada water scheme, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is empowered to monitor all projects on the Narmada river. It has taken serious objection to the approach of NVDA with regard to non-cooperation with NCA, non-provision of necessary data and documents and has stated that this constitutes breach of the conditions on which the environment clearance was granted”, NBA said.
“During the hearing, the Madhya Pradesh High Court took cognizance of the voluminous Action Taken Report filed by the state government and the Affidavit of the MoEF which exposed the gaps and inadequacies in the canal and command area planning and execution works by NVDA, which has led to severe impacts on agricultural land and crop losses”, NBA said, adding, “The court questioned the senior counsel for the state for the non-serious manner in which it has been treating the entire issue.”

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure