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Gujarat is thirsty, its fields are parched. For whom have Narmada dam's height increased and its gates closed?

0pen letter to the President of India by Prakash N Shah of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat, and Dwarika Nath Rath of the Movement for Secular Democracy:
We the Indian citizens residing in Gujarat are here with submitting this memorandum with much concern and anguish. Of course it is all about the Narmada Project. Since the inception of this Project, Gujarat has passed through various phases, positive as well as negative. But the matter which causes the most anxiety is the present scenario wherein the very objective of the project has been changed. It’s basic objective was to make its water available for drinking and irrigation.
And yet Gujarat is still thirsty and its fields are parched. In that case whom do the height the dam increased and the gates are ready for? Who are going to benefit?
The recent factual details of the Narmada Project in Gujarat:
  • The main objective of the project was to make its water available for drinking and to irrigate the farm land. That objective has been totally changed. 
  • In Gujarat, 17.92 lac hectares of agriculture land was planned to be irrigated instead, only 2 lac hectares of land is irrigated. Who is accountable for this lapse? 
  • When the project was accorded the sanction for the canal network of 90,389 km had been approved. Now, the government of Gujarat talks of 71, 748 km canal network. So, it seems, a decrease of 18,641 km. By whose approval and why this decrease?
  • At the time of its inception, originally the estimated expenditure of the project was Rs. 6,000 crore. Now, as per the recent estimate it would cost Rs. One lac crore when completed. Who are accountable for this sky high estimated cost rise?
  • Even now, approximately 22,000 km canal network is yet to be constructed. As per the state budgets of the past 2-3 years an average amount of Rs. 9,000 crore is annually provided for and spent. In what way and for what purpose has such expenditure been incurred is beyond comprehension.
  • Where the canals – main and subsidiary – are constructed, there are often breaches and there are holes and pits which damage the surrounding areas including crops and villages. Whether state government is accountable for the same?Because of such breaches in canals, during the recent floods in Banaskantha district, the flood situation was aggravated and worsened. because of the sudden gushing out of the canal waters.
  • The districts of the Narmada and Bharuch where the Navagam Dam is constructed go thirsty and cannot get water for irrigation. During a recent public meeting the elected local MP of the ruling party complained and raised this issue. Who are to be held accountable for such predicament? 
  • The Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) work done so far is not satisfactory in Gujarat, Maharashtra and M.P. (Madhya Pradesh). Because of the unsolved grievance about 200 representatives of the affected people of the submerge villages of are protesting, are on relay-fast (Dharana) at Kevadiya colony. 
  • And in Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), the people of the areas submerged, half-submerged or waiting to be submerged have been agitating since long. Whereas in Maharashtra the tribals of the submerged villages have been pleading for the land.
What an irony! The Narmada Festival and Celebrations incurring crores of rupees, and Gujarat is still thirsty, Madhya Pradesh submerged and Maharashtra troubled! We the Indian citizens from Gujarat painfully raise this question: Why is it happening? We are concerned and therefore protest such festivities brazenly and shamelessly celebrated in the name of the Narmada.
Hence, at the stage, when approximately 40,000 affected families are going to be submerged, we humbly appeal your good self to use your clout and instruct the authorities concerned to take all prompt and effective steps to save the lives of the affected, submerging people.
___
Signatories include:
Girishbhai Patel (well known advocate)
Dr. Mallikaben Sarabhai (Danseuse and Activist)
Prof Rohitbhai Shukla (Well known Economist)
Swatiben Joshi (Retired Professor, Delhi University)
Ghanshyambhai Shah (Retired Professor, JNU)
Manishibhai Jani (Leader, Navnirman movement)
Hemantkumar Shah (Professor, H. K. Arts College, Ahmedabad)
Fr. Francis Parmar
Maheshbhai Pandya (Editor, Paryavaran Mitra)
Dineshbhai Shukla (Political Analyst)
Indukumar Jani (Editor, Naya Marg)
Dilip Chandulal (Concerned Citizen)
Nita Mahadev (Gujarat Loksamiti)
Gautam Thaker (PUCL),
Others

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