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

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Undoing 'past wrong' at Ayodhya: Will Modi govt hand over Puri temple to Buddhists?

By Shamsul Islam*
While laying the foundation of Ram Janmabhoomi Temple at Ayodhya on August 5, 2020, with the get-up of a prosperous Hindu sage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that wait of Hindus of the world for centuries was over, as Lord Ram’s birthplace has been finally liberated from numerous attempts to destroy it.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Ex-official: Murmu, appointed as CAG, will 'surely' perform shradh of the institution

Counterview Desk
A former senior official of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Shantanu Basu, in a Facebook comment in the wake of the appointment of GC Murmu, a Gujarat IAS cadre official of the 1985, has raised doubts about the independence of CAG following the Government of India move.

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.