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

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

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

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".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

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.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.