Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ahead of Gujarat elections, Madhya Pradesh's top Narmada reservoirs were depleted to "appease" voters

Modi atop Narmada dam on September 17
By Our Representative
Strongly arguing as to how the Narmada dam was filled up ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections, which took place in mid-December 2017, senior farmers' leader Sagar Rabari of Khedut Samaj – Gujarat (KSG) has said, quoting official data, that on July 1, the water level in the 138.68 metre dam was at 114.97 metres, but on October 1, it was allowed to reach 130.74 metres, all to whip up sentiments of people around a river considered sacred by people.
"In the the beginning of monsoon, on July 31, the water level reached 120.69 metres, an increase of 5.72 metres in a month", said Rabari, adding, "It increased to 124.43 metres on August 31, and with the addition of September rain water, it reached 130.59 metres on October 1, but after that it was allowed to decline to provide as much waters to farmers as possible, even if they don't need it."
"In October-end, the water level was 128.69 metres, 1.9 meter lower than overall level, and on November 30, it further fell to 124.22 metres", Rabari said in a statement, alleging, Narmada waters were being "grossly and utterly misused", adding, "On November 31, the water levels fell to 118.33 metres, a decline of 5.89 metres, and on December 12, when the campaign officially ended, the water level at the dam site fell to 115.95 metres."
"During the two-and-a-half months of electioneering, SSNNL generously but altogether unnecessarily released water from the dam for ‘inaugurations’ of schemes and vote catching ploys. Not surprisingly, the water level fell from 130.59 to 115.95 meters, i.e. the ruling party and the SSNNL together wasted 14.64 meters of precious water, snatching it from the people of Gujarat", the farmers' leader alleged.
"An important fact to note here is that September, October and November are officially monsoon months. Agriculture, the sector that is the biggest beneficiary of the water, does not utilise much water during these months", Rabari said, adding, "Hence our query – where did the water vanish?"
Giving data of the amount of water allowed to be depleted after the Gujarat polls, Rabari said, "On December 1, the dam had 1946 million cubic metres (MCM), but on January 12, 2018, a month later, it got reduced to 638 MCM, and further to 328 MCM on January 25, when the water level in the dam reached 113.69 metres."
He added, "The authorities may not be willing to accept people’s demand of detailed account of water they misused but the farmers are determined to force them to reveal the account or provide them water that has been misused to woo voters."
Meanwhile, quoting the Daily Status Reports of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), has said that the inflow into the Narmada dam "suddenly jumped" from 495 cumecs (Cubic Meters per second) on September 12, to 2384 cumecs on September 16, in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the dam on his birthday, September 17.
Meanwhile, it added, Madhya Pradesh depleted its water storage so that the Narmada dam looked full on September 17. "The increased inflow into the Narmada dam was made possible only by increased outflow from upstream Madhya Pradesh dams like Indira Sagar Project (ISP) on Narmada. ISP, incidentally is India’s largest reservoir in terms of storage capacity."
Thus, "ISP's storage level, which was already very low (about 33%) on September 11 with monsoon almost coming to close, was depleted by further 450 MCM from September 11 to September 16, while the Narmada dam water level rose by 750 MCM during the same period. All this, so that water level at the Narmada could look more respectable on September 17", SANDRP said.

1 comment:

K SHESHU BABU said...

It is unfortunate to note that release of water from Narmada is being linked to political considerations overlooking farmers requirements. The farmers should not be made to suffer due to elections in different states.