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

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anonymous? Following BJP debacle, social media began getting memes calling voters 'traitors'

By Rathin Das*  It was an election with a difference that taught the 'party with a difference' a lesson it will never forget. The planet's largest party, the BJP, had put its stakes so high that even a normal victory looks like a defeat.