Skip to main content

As Narmada flows "backwards", sea water intrudes 72 km in the river, destroying farms, fish catch: Petition to NGT

Counterview Desk
“Failure” to maintain what is called “environmental flow” in the downstream of Narmada river is leading a major ecological disaster in South Gujarat, with salinity ingress affecting the river till about 72 km upstream of mouth of the river in Gulf of Khambhat. A petition filed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has estimated that the failure has resulted in tidal effects being felt 100 km upstream.
Pointing out that “reduced flows in Narmada have caused salinity” along the Narmada river, destroying agricultural lands, the petition, filed Jayesh Rathi of the Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti, a local environmental group, and the Bharuch Citizens’ Council, has said that “Narmada River at present literally flows backwards during the tides in the dry season, transferring salt and pollution from industries in Bharuch upstream.”
Citing studies, the petition says, biologists, fisheries experts and hydro-ecologists have noted “serious impact of the reduction in the freshwater flow in the downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam”, situated about 110 km from the Narmada river’s mouth. It has already led to hydro-ecology of the Narmada Estuary and reduced the fish catch.
“Reduced or no freshwater flow from the impounded structure, the SSD built on the Narmada system in Gujarat has caused detrimental and irreversible damage to the Narmada estuary, severely damaging the livelihoods of thousands of fisher folk families directly dependent on fish resources of the river ecosystem.”, it says.
Citing a report prepared by the Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute (CIFRI), Barrackpore, Kolkata, the petition says, the study identifies the essence of immediate remedial measure for the emerging environmental scenario in terms of making provision for the required “environmental flows” and zero effluents discharge for ensuring the ecological integrity in the downstream.
The petition says, there is “consistent negligence” to ensure minimum downstream flow from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, led to permanent and detrimental changes in the downstream hydro-ecology leading to habitat destruction, increased soil salinity in the agricultural lands, groundwater contamination and changes in the overall environment.
It recalls, “During the summer of 2016, the water flow in the downstream of Narmada in the Bharuch district reduced to extreme minimum, raising concern and alarm among all the stakeholders directly dependent on the ecological flow of the river”, the study says, adding, “ The same in the current year has aggravated to a phenomenal level unheard of.”
Pointing out that chemical, pharmaceutical, dye, dye intermediaries, petro products and fertilizer industries contribute “significantly” towards water pollution, the petition says, all of this
“concentrated around the Narmada estuary in the Bharuch district. “The release of untreated effluents into the estuary has had severe detrimental impacts on the hydro-ecology of the area”, it adds.
“Partially treated or untreated toxic industrial and chemical effluents from other industrial zones along the estuary, especially from Ankleshwar, Jhagadia and Panoli Industrial estates are being dumped into the Narmada estuarine area”, the petition alleges.
This, the petition says, has happened despite the fact “all efforts have been made to bring the severe deterioration of downstream environment of the Narmada Basin to the notice of the authorities”. It adds, “No action has been taken to address the issues by ensuring additional flows.”
“In view of these facts”, the petition insists, “The NGT should direct the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and the “ministry of water resources and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam Ltd to make urgent provision for the release of 1500 cusecs from the Sardar Sarover dam for downstream purpose, on a daily basis”, the petition says.
At the same time, it wants “an independent assessment by expert body/committee to assess the environment flow required in the Narmada river in different seasons to ensure that the river continues to provide the environmental, social, economic, livelihood and cultural services in the downstream of SSD.”

Comments

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

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.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

Barbaric, inhuman attack on Odisha villagers to implement JSW project: NGO networks

Counterview Desk  A “solidarity statement" issued by three top civil society networks, Friends of the Earth India (FoE India), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked the Odisha chief minister to ensure that the “inhumane barbaric attack on the villagers of Dhinkia, Odisha” in order to implement a corporate project.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."