Skip to main content

Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh "consent" closure of Narmada dam gates: What good would it do?, asks Patkar

By Our Representative
Amidst “fear” in the upstream of the Narmada dam about massive submergence once its 30 gates, already installed, are closed, a top knowledgeable source close to the development has revealed that two states – Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh – have "given consent for closing down the gates." Only Maharashtra hasn't have yet given its nod.
Linked to the completion of the rehabilitation of the dam oustees, it is not known how Maharashtra will hold its decision on gates' closure, as its officials are under tremendous pressure to allow them to closed down”, the source said, adding, “The Government of India has directed the Narmada Control Authority (ANC) to take a decision on this at the earliest on the basis of the three states' formal consent.”
In Ahmedabad for attending a national convention on land rights, Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which is the chief opponent of the Narmada dam, told Counterview, “If this is true, hundreds of families, who haven't yet been rehabilitated, especially in Madhya Pradesh, will face submergence because of the creation of a huge 214 km long reservoir.”
Addressing the three-day convention, which began in Ahmedabad's Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Patkar wondered what good the dam's completion is going to do the farmers of Gujarat. “Four lakh hectares (ha) of land from the 18 lakh in Narmada canal irrigation region has already been decommanded”, she said.
“With industries being the main focus of Narmada water in Gujarat, the farmers of Saurashtra and Kutch will remained deprived of it”, she said, adding how the proposed Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which overlaps the Narmada main canal “would mean 60 per cent of Gujarat's land would be open for acquisition for industry.”
“It is a huge conspiracy being played on the people, particularly of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh”, Patkar said, adding, “There is a need to understand the whole issue in the context of the type of development that is afloat ever since 1991, when the new economic policy was floated. Based on this, one would need to fight economic, environmental, social and political battle.”
Kanu Kalsaria
Pointing out that the present government under Narendra Modi is only more aggressively following the NEP, Patkar said, “Under the previous UPA government, there was a space for discussion or consultation before any move to come up with changes in laws affecting the people. Under Modi, there is not such space.” 
Insisting that the NBA is not against industrialization, Patkar said, “We are not fools to say that land, water, forests or minerals should not be touched. The point is understand how and for whom these resources should be touched.”
Held under the banner of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), the national convention saw Aam Aadmi Party leader Kanu Kalsaria, a former Gujarat BJP MLA, praise Patkar, considered till recently a persona non grata for her alleged anti-Gujarat stance because of her opposition to the Narmada dam.
Kalsaria recalled an incident when he met Modi as BJP MLA in mid-2000s opposing a proposed small dam being built in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat. “I told Modi that the dam would displace people's livelihood. I was shocked to hear his argument: He replied, I was behaving like Medha Patkar, who is opposed to development. And, there the matter ended.”

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).