Skip to main content

Narmada Planning Group rejected Modi's pet SAUNI project in 1987, saying there wasn't "enough water"

Modi's second "inauguration" of SAUNI: August 30, 2016
By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India agency Central Water Commission (CWC) may have denied reports that it has rejected a Gujarat government request for funds for the high-profile Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI) on the ground that there is not enough water to divert Narmada waters to Saurashtra.
However, the fact is, SAUNI’s basic criteria, of sending Narmada’s a whopping 1 million acre feet (MAF) of waters – over and above 9 MAF allocated to Gujarat from Narmada basin by the inter-state Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award – to the parched land of the Saurashtra region was rejected three decades ago as unviable.
Initially announced by Narendra Modi as Gujarat chief minister in September 2012, ahead of the state assembly polls in December that year, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd’s (SSNNL’s) Narmada Planning Group (NPG) first outlined the SAUNI concept in a report titled ‘Planning for Prosperity’ in 1987.
Ironically, Modi re-inaugurated SAUNI's two different phases as Prime Minister last year on August 30 in and then this year on April 16.
Headed by well-known Gujarat-based veteran academic YK Alagh, one of the chapters of the NPG’s report talked of augmenting “extra monsoon water” in Narmada in three different regions – Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat.
It suggested lifting Narmada waters 20 metres high for the transfer to Saurashtra. But it concluded that the reliability of the transfer was “very low.” Hence, it was left for an expert hydrological study to work out the details.
Two top experts from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and Tata Institute of Social Science, who were employed to do the job, concluded that even if one-fifth of one million acre feet (MAF) of water was transferred to Saurashtra, “its reliability would be less than 20 per cent”.
The hydrological study also pointed towards an interesting phenomenon: When Saurashtra was in need of water, there wasn’t enough rainfall in the Narmada catchment, too. However, when there was enough water in Narmada catchment, it also rained heavily in Saurashtra. Hence the conclusion that it made no sense in transferring water to Saurashtra.
Interestingly, when SAUNI was first “inaugurated” by Modi in 2012, none other than Alagh pointed out, “If any new study is available that would help augment one MAF of water to Saurashtra, the Gujarat government should publish it in public interest.”
Even SSNNL officials were not aware of any feasibility study to transfer “surplus” Narmada water to Saurashtra. No administrative approval for the proposed transfer was taken either. Even the state finance department was not been approached to fund the project.
Further, earlier Madhya Pradesh did not build its irrigation potential, and the Narmada command area was also not fully developed, hence perhaps it was possible to talk about extra water available for transfer 1 MAF to Saurashtra.
But things have changed. Several dams have come up in Madhya Pradesh that leaves no scope for extra water from Narmada for not just Saurashtra but also North Gujarat and Kutch. After all, Narmada command has already become short of water.
Meanwhile, it is not clear if CWC has in its hand an expert feasibility report for SAUNI. In its clarification denying that the project was not feasible, it merely said, feasibility study was a “continuous, consultative process”, passing through various stages.
Gujarat government wants SAUNI to fill up 115 reservoirs in water-scarce Saurashtra with waters of overflowing Narmada. In a letter to CWC, it has sought an extra Rs 6,399 crore – over and above Rs 10,000 crore for implementing the project – from the Centre for this.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Rajiv writes many anti Narmada dam articles that are very misleadings. Check the Narmada Control Authority report and you will find that in year 2015 8.5 MAF was provided at canal head power house. Without the gates, the storage capacity is only 28%. When dam is fully filled it will add 3 MAF additional storage which means 12 MAF water will be available at canal head power house against 9 MAF allotted to Gujarat. Anti dam activists always claimed that there is not enough water available to provide Saurastra, Kutch and North Gujarat. In reality there is more water available than it can be stored. Dam lies spreaded by anti-dam activist.
Jag Jivan said…
Mr Anonymous, why do you want to remain anonymous? You don't want to face reality or what? And you are quoting official figures to prove the above article wrong, strange. By the way, Mr Yogendra Alagh, whom Mr Rajiv quotes, is not anti-Narmada dam, not in the wildest possible imagination. But it seems whoever differs with whatever the present Gujarat regime does on Narmada, in your view, is anti-Narmada. Such is your predicament, Mr Anonymous, and persons of your ilk. Call names, and be faceless... I pity you, why are you so afraid???

TRENDING

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Anti-liquor march: Women padyatris "resolve" to occupy Karnataka state assembly

By Abhay, Swarna Bhat*
At a huge public convention held at Siddaganga Mutt on the Republic Day, January 26, 2019, in the presence of Sanehalli Sri Panditaradhya Swamiji, padyatris of the Madya Nishedha Andolana decided to intensify the ongoing liquor ban movement. A resolution passed at the convention, in which thousands of rural women joined in, the marching women declared that on reaching Bengaluru will “occupy Vidhan Soudha” on Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day, January 30.