Skip to main content

Narmada dam proving to be "watery grave" for oustees of 245 villages as dam height speeds up to reach full reservoir level

Narmada dam: Pillars to raise dam level  under construction
By Our Representative
In a crucial hearing to take place on August 1, 2015, the two-judge Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Madan Lokur and UU Lalit is likely to decide on a plea by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) seeking a stay on the Gujarat government on raising the Narmada dam height from the present 121.92 metres to the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres. The special bench began the hearing matter in December 2014.
Construction of the dam up to the full reservoir level is said to be in progress at speed faster than the schedule -- it is proposed to be completed by September 2017, but officials are targeting it to reach full reservoir level in January 2017. Gujarat is scheduled to go on assembly polls in December 2017.
In a statement to mark the forthcoming hearing, which is likely to be culmination of the six-month-long arguments over the contentious issue of whether all Narmada dam oustees have been resettled before the decision to raise the dam was taken, the NBA has said that there is a concerted effort to project the dam as a tourism spot when it is proving to be a “watery grave” for the dam’s oustees.
Suggesting that lives of lakhs are at stake because of large-scale submergence at the doorstep, the statement says, already, “time is running out fast” because dark clouds are already “hovering over the lives of thousands of families in the Narmada valley.” Construction work on way to building pillars for taking the dam height to 139.64 metres.
“The waters have already reached 121.92 metres at the dam site, but it cannot overflow as much as it did last year due to the construction of pillars covering half of the space”, the statement points out, criticizing “some Gujarati newspapers for publishing “misleading” reposts of dam overflow projecting the dam as an attractive site for tourists.”
This is being done at a time when, the statement says, the dam is proving to be “a watery grave in 245 villages”, where at stake are “life, culture and environment in the hilly areas and densely populated plain communities.”
“The hearing assumes significance in the backdrop of the monsoon at the doorstep, as the lives and livelihoods of lakhs of people living in the valley is at stake due to the construction of the Project to its full height, in violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT), State Rehabilitation Policies and judgments of the Supreme Court in 1991, 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2011”, the statement says.
While 11,000 families have received land as a result of the intense struggle for decades, the fate of thousands others in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat is highly uncertain”, the NBA claims.
“It is an extremely grave situation that while thousands of tribals, farmers, fish workers, landless have not yet been rehabilitated with alternative land, livelihoods, house plots at resettlement sites, even at 121.92 metres”, while “thousands more are yet to be affected with the new dam height increase”, the anti-dam body says.
“The Judicial Inquiry Report into corruption in rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), to be released in October 2015 will bring forth the scale of violations and corruption”, the statement says, adding, “The government has played a game of numbers and has thrown out 16,000 families out of submergence on the basis of flawed backwater calculations.”
“The clearances for the dam by all authorities are based on these wrong assumptions and false reports of complete rehabilitation”, the NBA underlines, adding, “The Supreme Court shall hear all parties on the issue of jurisdiction with respect to rehabilitation and raise in dam height and thereafter proceed to issue further orders.”

Comments

TRENDING

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.