Skip to main content

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

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.