Skip to main content

Par-Tapi-Narmada link project likely to "displace" 35,000 tribals, submerge 75 villages, 7,559 ha of precious land

Par river near village Jhari
By Our Representative
Well-known advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has estimated that if the Par Tapi Narmada (PTN) Link Project is implemented as part of the Government of India's ambitious river inter-linking scheme, then 75 tribal villages, 3,592 hectares (ha) of forests in Western Ghats and a minimum of 7,559 ha of land will be submerged. This apart, it is likely to displace around 35,000 adivasis.
SANDRP's Parineeta Dandekar, who recently made a spot survey of the project in Maharashtra's Jhari, a tribal village, which may face submergence, has said in a recent blog that under the scheme, seven dams are proposed on the west flowing basins like Par, Nar, Auranga, Ambica and Purna, "which will transport west flowing water from Maharashtra and Gujarat to unbelievably far-off places in Gujarat like Kutch and Saurashtra."
Contending that in reality all waters are likely to be "used up in Central Gujarat region", Dandekar says, the PTN Link Project, according to National Water Development Agency (NWDA), involving seven reservoirs in north Maharashtra and south Gujarat, will "enable" transfer of 1350 million cubic metres (MCM) of water from the west flowing rivers like Nar, Par, Auranga, Ambica, Purna into Tapi and Narmada.
"Initially the project was also supposed to utilise surplus waters of Tapi from Ukai dam, but later it dropped Ukai from the calculations", the expert says, adding, "The cost of the project is Rs 6,046 crores by 2004-05 prices. Even by NWDA calculations, the project has a dismal benefit-cost ratio of just 1:1.08", which means "its annual expense would be Rs 572 crore and annual benefit Rs 618 crore."
Adivasis of region to be displaced by Damanganga-Pinjal link
Pointing towards the shocking manner in which the feasibility report for the project has been prepared, Dandekar refers to the portion which says the affected people "only work in fields and forests", and that “when the affected families will be shifted to new places having all civic amenities such as, water supply facilities, medical facilities, schools and community building for recreation purposes, there will be general improvement in the life style of the people and their culture.”
She wonders how could NWDA is assume itself to be "the authority for improving cultures and also a judge who thinks that tribal culture is inferior and needs general improvement", adding, "This highlights the ignorance, bias and high handedness of the agency towards these people and their lifestyles. In any case, if the aim is to provide the tribals with amenities and services, it can still be done without displacement."
Suggesting that the PTN Link Project is being implemented under the directions of the Gujarat chief minister’s water resources adviser BN Navalawala, Dandekar recalls, "Incidentally, Navalawala is the only former water resources secretary of India who had to resign under directions of the then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, since Manohar Parrikar, erstwhile chief minister of Goa, complained against him for being biased about Goa-Karnataka water sharing dispute on Mahadayi river."
The expert says, "In all this rhetoric of PTN Link Project, the tribals of Maharashtra and Gujarat find no place", insisting, while Gujarat is offering Damanganga-Pinjal link in "exchange", the latter is "solely for the water use of Mumbai Municipal Corporation." She adds, Mumbai has several alternative ways to secure water "rather than destroying forests and mountains of Western Ghats or displacing thousands of tribals."

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.