Skip to main content

Govt of India resettling Narmada dam oustees based on "flawed" calculation of possible massive floods in river

Yellow box on left corner suggests flood level at 146.64 metres in 2013
By Rajiv Shah
In a major revelation, an independent Fact-Finding Team on Sardar Sarovar Project's (SSP's) submergence areas has said, on the basis of its recent field visit to SSP-affected villages, that Government of India (GoI) has completely ignored in its calculations several of the areas in Madhya Pradesh which may face massive submergence because of unprecedented floods.
Official calculations have estimated that "backwater levels" because of extraordinay flooding (once in 100 years) in the area on the upstream of Narmada dam, when it reaches the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres, would never go beyond 144.92 metres. Based on this, only those who lived below the 144.92 level were allowed resettlement and rehabilitated.
Finding the calculations flawed, the team, which visited villages situated between Indore and and Badwani off Mumbai-Agra highway, by the banks of Narmada river, said in its report that, contrary to the calculation made by the GoI agency Central Water Commission (CWC), it found even at the present dam height, 121.92 metres, flood levels at Gazipura and Kalghat villages reached 146.64 metres in 2013.
Earlier in 1994, when the dam's height was still lower, 90 metres, flood levels reached 148.80 metres. And, when the dam's construction had still not begun, in 1984, the flood levels had reached 150.34 metres. Based on the CWC's estimation, the Narmada Control Authority allowed rehabilitation of only up to 144.92 metres.
The team, which consisted of two experts and politicians belonging to opposition Communist and Congress parties, and visited the Narmada valley in May second week, said in its report that the year 2013 was "not even a high flood year and still flood levels reached 146.64 meters which is much higher than the estimated 144.92 meters that CWC has calculated for an extraordinary flooding situation where input will be equal to 24,000 cusecs."
Those who formed part of the team included Hannan Mollah, eight time member of Parliament of the CPI-M; Annie Raja, general secretary of the National India Federation of Women in India; Vinay Bishwom, former forest minister from Kerala; Raj Kachroo, well known hydrologist; and Soumya Dutta, well known expert on energy and climate issues. Panchilal Meda (former MLA, Dharampuri, Dhar Dist) and Ramesh Patel (sitting MLA, Badwani constituency) of Congress also joined the team.
The official 144.92 backwater mark under extraordinary flooding outside
the temple in Ghazipura village
Illustrating its findings on the basis of photographs, which showed where the floods had reached in the past, the team said, it found real danger to Ghazipura, "a settlement inhabited mostly by poor fisher-people and artisanal workers." One has only to see "two pictures, where it is clearly seen that the houses are below the back water levels reached (and marked on pillars) even in normal years, of 146 M (even with the present dam height of 121.92 M)", it added.
The team found that "Ghazipura houses got inundated during the last two years due to high flood levels, causing massive disruptions and losses for nearly three months each year. Walls collapsed and brick kilns got washed off. Small shops got destroyed along with the materials." It added, "One can easily imagine what will be the extent of submergence when the discharge is higher."
The team regretted, "Most of the 48 houses of Ghazipura a mohalla of Khalghat and Shala bastis, mohallas of Sala village are now below the regular bac water level at anything above moderate discharge levels. The houses at Khalghat are clearly seen to be below the marked high water levels, but these families are not recognized as project affected."
The team observed, "With the construction now at an advanced stage for piers and bridge structures over the dam, and installing gates for taking the height to 138.64 metres, the backwater levels here are sure to climb much higher, possibly inundating whole of Ghazipura, as well as Khalghat, which is a township like big village, and yet they have not been recognized as being completely in the submergence zone!"
The team concluded, "Non-recognition as project affected/non-inclusion in submergence zone/wrong determination of backwater levels – this was found to be a very serious complaint by a large number of people/ families." As a result, it added, "Large number of people/families, the team met, complained that they were unfairly excluded from being declared as project affected people (PAFs)."

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.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

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.

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…

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

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.

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

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.