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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.