Skip to main content

Gujarat govt: Jha Commission report on corruption in resettling Narmada dam oustees "poorly prepared"

Narmada dam, with gates atop
By Rajiv Shah
Setting aside fears of large-scale submergence in Madhya Pradesh, top Gujarat government insiders have authoritatively stated that the crucial permission to close down the gates of the Narmada dam will surely be obtained by June 2017, ahead of the monsoon season, in order to store as much water as possible during the rainy season up to the full reservoir level, 138.64 metres.
Considered crucial for the state assembly polls, scheduled for December 2017, insiders quote circles close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to say that he would take a final call on the matter by mid next year "following environmental and resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) clearance from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, as also the Narmada Control Authority (NCA)."
The NCA permitted Gujarat government to raise the dam's height to 138.64 metres in June 2014 by installing gates, but ordered these should remain open till the clearances were obtained. If the gates are closed, the water storage capacity, which is 1.4 million acre feet (MAF), would reach more than 6 MAF, as an additional 4.75 MAF capacity would be added.
As the installation of gates is complete, the state government is now waiting for the crucial permission to close them down.
A senior state official, talking with Counterview, set aside the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) contention that the Jha Commission report, which it claims has "exposed" large-scale corruption in R&R of Madhya Pradesh oustees, might become a major hurdle in closing down the gates.
The gates closure -- which would raise the dam's reservoir by a massive 16 metres -- is stuck because of the "failure" to obtain R&R clearance, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, where the Jha commission report is claimed to have found a massive rehabilitation scam.
According to reports, claimed to be based on the Jha commission findings, at least 15,000 families in the submergence area would still need to be resettled in Madhya Pradesh. The NBA, however, claims that not less than 45,000 families from 195 villages would be displaced if the water storage is increased by closing down the gates.
Strongly disputing the reported calculations, which are said to be based on the Jha Commission report, a senior Gujarat official said, "The Jha commission report has been prepared in a very roughshod manner", adding, "There is little reason to make it a stumbling block in closing the dam's gates."
The official underlined, "The commission was set up in 2008 under Justice SS Jha, and it took seven years for the report to be completed. However, it virtually did not work for as many as six years. In the final report, all that it does is to give instances of corruption, which could be handled. However, nowhere does it say as to what percentage of oustees remain to be resettled."
Meanwhile, the official said, the Gujarat government is all set to complete the entire Narmada project within two years, including and difficult most difficult part – the serpentine sub-minor canal network, which provide water to the far-off villages.
“If till 2014, just about 24,000 km of sub-minor canals were built, over the last two years, we have succeeded in building another 24,000 km of them. Of these, to avoid any land acquisition, we have laid down underground pipelines for about 15,000 km”, the official said.
He insisted, “This has meant creating an irrigation potential of 12 lakh hectares out of 18 lakh in the Narmada command area in Gujarat. Of this, farmers are already irrigating on eight lakh hectares.”
The sub-minors get water after water is released in 460 km long main canal, starting at the Narmada dam, and passes through branch and sub-branches canals. While the work for the main was completed a few years ago, that of branch and sub-branch canals is mostly over, except in the Kutch region.

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.