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

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.