Skip to main content

Narmada waters in Gujarat "stopped" to appease Madhya Pradesh farmers with eye on elections: Government insider

Narmada canal filled with water ahead of Gujarat polls
By Our Representative
A well-informed Gujarat government source has told Counterview that a major reason why the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) recently declared there would be “no water” from the multi-purpose irrigation scheme, Sardar Sarovar dam, to Gujarat farmers starting March 15, 2018, is Madhya Pradesh elections, scheduled for this year-end.
The source, refusing to be identified, said, “Already, massive preparations are on in Madhya Pradesh to provide as much Narmada water to the state’s farmers by storing as much water as possible. The idea is to appease the farmers with Narmada waters in the same way as it was done last year before the elections took place in Gujarat.”
Suggesting that the BJP rulers in Madhya Pradesh are taking “no chances”, especially after anger sweeping the state’s rural areas following the Mandsaur incident in June last year, in which five farmers were killed in police firing, the source said, “At that time, in view of the Gujarat elections, the whole effort was open the gates of the big dams on Narmada in Madhya Pradesh to allow Narmada water to reach Gujarat to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam, so that as canals were filled up and the state’s farmer could use them for irrigation.”
The official explanation to stop Narmada water to farmers after March 15 is “low reservoir levels”. A state government statement said, the water storage in the Narmada dam has “dropped” by 45 per cent, the lowest in 15 years due to “less rainfall” witnessed in Madhya Pradesh last monsoon.
The official communique, quoting SSNNL, appealed farmers to “skip” sowing of summer crops unless they have alternate sources of irrigation such as bore-wells, as water from Narmada would have to be saved for drinking purposes. Gujarat has about 1.5 million hectares under summer cultivation growing summer crops such as sesame, millets, pulses — lentils, groundnut and paddy.
Kensville golf course
The decision to curtail water was reportedly taken at the Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the inter-state body responsible for discharge of water from Narmada river to the dams in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Officials said, NCA expects Narmada dam to get “just about 4.71 million acre feet (MAF)”, as against the “planned” nine MAF.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is going ahead with announcing schemes to Narmada provide water to irrigate the state’s fields. In his latest announcement, he declared the state’s irrigation area would be “increased to 60 lakh hectare”.
Addressing farmers at Antodaya Mela during his Vikas Yatra at Nasrullahganj of Sehore district, he said, Narmada has been “linked with Kshipra to increase irrigation area”, adding, arrangements were being made to “ensure to supply water to the agriculture fields of the farmers.”
Meanwhile, Khedut Samaj (Gujarat) general secretary Sagar Rabari, in a letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has wondered why the state government has decided to stop waters to farmers. “They have no problems supplying water to Coca Cola, farm houses owned by rich and mighty in the Nal Sarovar area, Kensville and Shantigram golf clubs. There is no mention in their official note on stopping water to them”, he told Counterview, quoting Narmada engineers.
Quoting Gujarat’s water resources adviser BN Navalawala, Rabari’s letter to Rupani says, the official decision to supply 0.20 MAF for supply to industry was violated, even in 2014. “Navalawala stated in one of his speeches that the SSNNL was providing 0.25 MAF to industry in 2014”, it adds.
“Today we are living in 2018 and many more industrial units have been getting the water which means now much more water than the quota goes to the industry”, alleges Rabari, demanding a white paper on how much water is being released from Narmada canal for the Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad just to please foreign dignitaries, and how much of it is being given the Kensville and Shantigram golf clubs.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.