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

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.