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Drought in Gujarat? 30 lakh litres Narmada water being diverted to Coca Cola, 60 lakh litres to automobile units

By Our Representative
India's top anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has alleged that, despite continued deficit of rainfall this monsoon, the Gujarat government has been providing “huge quantities” of Narmada water, meant for irrigation, to some of the top industrial houses and the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) region.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the NBA said, “Betraying drought-prone regions of Kutch-Suarashtra, Narmada water is being diverted to Coca Cola, Ambani and Adani. Over the last 30 years, just about 35-40 Narmada canals have been constructed, while the rest remain incomplete, hence farmers are unable to take advantage of Narmada waters. Yet, it is continued its the work of completing the Narmada dam to the full reservoir level (FRL) of 139 metres.”
Giving figures, the NBA statement, signed among others by well-known social activist Medha Patkar, said, “Each day, 30 lakh litres of water is being diverted to Coca Cola and 60 lakh litres to to motor car factories in Gujarat. This apart, the region that falls under the DMIC is being provided most of the Narmada water.”
Questioning the logic behind providing Narmada water to the Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, the NBA said, “This is being done by depriving thousands of drought-affected villages in the Kutch-Saurashtra region. The whole purpose of completing the dam to FRL 139 litres is political.”
The statement wondered why, despite “huge” industrial investments worth thousands of crores has been made in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat has not providing any electricity from the Narmada dam's power house. “Though the two states have demanded compensation, just about Rs 3,500 crore has been paid”, it said.
Issued ahead of the call to join a protest rally at Badwani in Madhya Pradesh, bordering Gujarat situated nex to Narmada river, the statement said, “The Narmada satyagraha for water and land rights would begin on July 30 at the historic Rajghat on the banks of Narmada.”
Pointing out that the satyagraha would be preceded by moving around the Narmada river from July 13 to 22, the statement alleged, “One of the oldest cultural civilizations along the Narmada valley is on the verge of collapse by plans to build 30 big and 135 medium level dams on the river in Madhya Pradesh.”
“Each of these dams will oust lakhs of people”, the statement continued, adding, “Some of the most fertile lands which produce food and on which forests stand will be destroyed. Temples, mosques, schools, artifacts, trade, everything will be destroyed.”
“Worse”, the statement said, “The Madhya Pradesh government has worked out plans to divert between 5,000 and 15,000 litres water per day of Narmada waters to other rivers interlinking several rivers in order to satisfy corporates' greed for water.”
Pointing out that all this is in addition to the Gujarat government having already completed the Narmada dam work, with only gates left to be installed, the statement said, “In our estimate around 50,000 families are yet to be rehabilitated. In all, 244 villages and one town, Dharampur, are likely to be submerged once the gates are installed and closed.”
Even as conceding that Gujarat and Maharashtra have completed resettlement of 14,000 families, the statement said, in the NBA's estimates, around 45,000 houses would face submergence in Madhya Pradesh alone. It added, “Despite this, the Madhya Pradesh government has has told courts that there is no oustees remaining to be resettled.”

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