Skip to main content

"Proof" that Narmada dam oustees' rehab is incomplete: Emergency plan amid dangers of submergence

By Our Representative
The National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) has wondered as to why, ahead of heavy rains in the upstream of the Narmada dam, especially in Madhya Pradesh, the state government is gearing up with contingency plans to “save” people from being submerged. An annual affair, the NAPM, which is an apex body of several people’s organizations across the country, it has asked, “If all dam affected persons have been ‘rehabilitated’, then why crores of money is being spent on disaster management?”
In a statement issued from Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, which is on the borders of Gujarat, the NAPM has said, “Every year, with the beginning of heavy rains in the Narmada Valley, the government suddenly gets “concerned” and pours out money for setting up relief camps for persons affected by dams. This year, too, it has set aside Rs 551 lakh for the areas affected by Sardar Sarovar and other dams on Narmada -- Upper Veda, Maan, Jobat , Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar.”
More interesting is the fact that, says NAPM, “On June 24, 2014, in a petition related to Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar canals, Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh Justice Khanvilkar directed that a disaster management scheme be prepared for the entire Narmada Valley.” What is noteworthy, according to NAPM, is that “Since 1979 when Sardar Sarovar Project was passed, no such scheme has been made, despite the reservoir spreading over 214 km.” This despite the fact that “many villages of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat faced “disasters”.
This year, the Madhya Pradesh government has declared it will set up “centres/camps in the name of relief, are at least 10 to 15 km away from the hilly adivasi villages”, the NAPM says, adding, “The administration expects these adivasi villagers to come in their boats, with children and sick and elderly persons, and eat and thus, get ‘relief’ in the camps.” Furthermore, for relief purposes, the government has arranged boats so as to “save’’ houses, shops, schools etc. “Around 20 boats are arranged and they are kept just for Government related work by giving Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per month.”
Wondering why all this is being done when the Narendra Modi government has already declared that the rehabilitation of the Narmada oustees has been completed, the NAPM says, even the arrangement for the disaster that may befall once rains lash upstream of the Narmada dam are not enough. In fact, it insists, “The common villagers, the adivasis, cannot get, nor can they afford, the boats for commuting to markets or even for their daily needs. Does the government really think that it will ‘save’ around 700 to 1500 houses by putting them all together on the boats? Or will lives be saved, and not property? And how many families?”
The NAPM further says, “Land and houses in the hilly adivasi villages of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were submerged without any rehabilitation in 1993-1994. In the same way, in the last 2-3 years, houses, shops and standing crops in the densely populated villages of Nimad, Madhya Pradesh got submerged. This is happening because thousands of families of farmers, labourers, fish-workers, potters, shop-keepers, land-less persons have been rehabilitated just on papers.”
“At the present height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, 122 meters”, NAPM says, “there are 177 villages which are affected by submergence, and out these, many villages, thousands of houses and some wards of Dharampuri town faced destruction even last year. In the 2006 judgment which allowed for raising the height up to 122 meters, it was ordered that families must be compensated for damages. But in spite of the orders of Justice Khare, Grievance Redressal Authority, the Madhya Pradesh government and Narmada Valley Development Authority have not complied.”
The NAPM has wondered, “Will the land, farms, houses, temples, schools and lakhs of trees belonging to 40,000 Sardar Sarovar affected families be sold with 318 Lakh rupees? Claiming that there is no one left to be rehabilitated at the present height of 122 meters and also saying that our angst is ‘false and misleading’, the Modi Government, in its first big decision, has decided to raise the height of the dam by 17 meters.” It adds, “Even today, more than 40,000 families, lakhs of animals and trees are residing in the submergence affected areas of Sardar Sarovar Dam.”

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.