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

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.