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???

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”