Skip to main content

Did Gujarat's city dwellers drank away 19% of Narmada water after November 2017? Farmers' leader asks CM

Modi watching Narmada water flowing to Saurashtra
By Our Representative
With the Narmada dam’s water levels coming down to 112.32 metres as on February 2 – and a mere 181 Million Cubic Metres (MCM) of water available for use (click HERE) – top farmers’ leader Sagar Rabari has asked a pointed question: Where has all the water stored in the dam ahead of the Gujarat elections disappear?
The Narmada dam’s main canal outlet is at 110.64 metres, after which the dam’s unusable dead storage would be available. Ironically, as on October 1, 2017, the water level in the 138.68 metre dam (full reservoir level or FRL) was 130.59 metres.
Talking to Counterview, Rabari, who heads the state’s biggest non-political farmers’ body, Khedut Samaj – Gujarat (KSG), said, “We have been told that, because of the failure of rains in the catchment area, Gujarat’s share of Narmada water came down to 4.71 million acre feet (MAF), or 5,809.73 MCM, which is nearly half of the dam’s allocated share (9 MAF or 11,101.32 MCM) at FRL.”
“Taking into account that, despite shortage of inflow into the dam due to less rainfall, there was going to be no reduction in the allocation of drinking water (1.06 MAF or 1,307.49 MCM of 9 MAF), there is reason to wonder: Where did 1,126.49 MCM, or 19.39% of water disappear”, said Rabari.
“With just about 118 MCM, or 3.12% of water available in the Narmada dam today, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has now advised farmers not to take summer crop”, Rabari said, asking a pointed question: “Are we to believe that between November 2017 and January 2018, Gujarat’s cities drank up 19.39% of 4.71 MAF water in available in the dam?”
Suggesting that even a little child can link less rainfall with low water level in the dam, Rabari said, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), responsible for Narmada water distribution in Gujarat, should have known by mid-September that there would be “less water released in the dam.”
“If the SSNNL did know that there would be a shortfall of drinking water and irrigation, why did it allow the criminal wastage of Narmada water for the Aji and Narmada dam inaugurations and other election-related programmes in September 2017?”, he asked in a statement.
As already reported, the inflow into the Narmada dam was suddenly allowed to jump – 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 for his birthday bash on September 17.
At the same time, ahead of Gujarat polls, Madhya Pradesh depleted its water storage so that the Narmada dam looked full on September 17. Thus, Madhya Pradesh’s dam, Indira Sagar Project’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.
Asking Rupani and SSNNL officials to provide “the account of where and how much water was used”, and whether the water used is “as per the Water Usage Manual of the inter-state Narmada Control Authority”, Rabari insisted, they should also provide details of “how much water was wasted in the inaugurations”.
Also seeking information on “how many people could have been provided drinking water for how many months with 1,307.49 MCM of water”, Rabari said, they should also make public “how much area could have been irrigated in that amount of water.”
“Rajasthan has been allotted a mere 0.5 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of water by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA). It has already successfully provided irrigation in 2.46 lakh hectares (ha) and drinking water to 45 lakh people”, Rabari said, adding, “This proves that the Gujarat government and the SSNNL have grossly mismanaged and criminally wasted this precious resource of the people of Gujarat.”
“It is time that the city dwellers woke up and demanded an account of their stolen waters. The political class used the water as a vote-catching ploy”, he said, adding,  the chief minister is now misleading the people of Gujarat "on the issue of drinking water and irrigation.”
“City-dwellers facing drinking water shortages in summer months should remember that farmers have not used that water”, said Rabari, adding, “Their water has been swindled from them, used for a totally useless and ulterior motive of getting votes in the assembly election and photo ops and then ultimately drained into the sea!”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.