Skip to main content

Ensure natural flow of Narmada to salvage sea ingress in downstream river: People's Tribunal testimony

By Our Representative
A Peoples’ Court or Jan Adalat, held in Bhopal on culmination of week-long struggle, called Narmada Aur Kisaani Bachao Jung, has been told that efforts should be stepped up to ensure the natural flow of Narmada river is properly monitored and regulated at a time when several major and minor dams have been built on it and its tributaries. This, it was suggested, necessary to protect the river's ecosystem, which is facing severe strain.
Those who gave testimonies following a 220 km rally, which began next to the Narmada dam, converting into a 55 km foot march from Sihore to Bhopal, were adivasi, farmers, fish workers agricultural labourers and mill workers, many of whom who faced displacement.
Issues raised included the bleak situation along Narmada, allegedly resulting from destructive development projects, especially large dams, devouring prime forests and other resources; displacement without rehabilitation; downstream impact of the Sardar Sarovar dam, and so on.
Heralbhai, a fish worker, and Kamleshbhai, an advocate, who had come from the downstream region of the Sardar Sarovar dam, said a serious issue of sea ingress demanded no new barrage, currently under implementation at Bhadbhut on the mouth of Narmada river. It would adversely affect the estuary and the coastal regulatory zone CRZ, affecting downstream fisheries and the river's ecology, they said.
They demanded that the Sardar Sarovar dam's gates should be opened up and there should a release of 6000 cusecs of water. Pointing out that a several decades old report by international expert Wallingford had recommended only 600 cusecs as the adequate flow for the downstream, they said, when the population has increased manifold and water requirement of industry and agriculture has gone up drastically, there is a need to review this.
Giving testimony, fish workers of Sardar Sarovar, Indira Sagar and Bargi reservoirs asserted their fishing rights, while the Sardar Sarovar-affected tribals and farmers talked of the devastation faced by them because of the dams.
Kailash Avasya spoke about injustice done to hilly adivasis who are still not rehabilitated, while Ranvir Tomar, Suresh Pradhan, Kamla Yadav, Shyama Behen and Madubhai pointed towards rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) issues in the plains of Nimad. Wahid Mansuri raised questions about the clearance given by the Narendra Modi government to the Sardar Sarovar dam, demanding he dam's gates be opened till rehabilitation is concluded.
Rajkumar Sinha said new proposals for 13 power plants on Narmada river need to be rejected, as there is no further requirement of power for Madhya Pradesh. The proposals have been made to help private corporate power generators, he said,, while Meera Bai and Dadulal Kudape insisted that the proposal to have nuclear power plant at Chutka should be rejected because of its environmental issues.
VM Singh, a farmer leader, demanded that two laws need to be passed urgently -- one on freedom from debt and another on appropriate prices for agricultural products. These bill, he said, are already before Parliament, demanding a separate session for this.
Among those who heard the testimonies, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar said forcible acquisition of land was taking place by undermining the 2013 land law, while former Justice of Supreme Court, Gopala Gowda acknowledged the seriousness of the situation along Narmada, wondering, “In a democracy, where majority rules, when 74% of the poor rural population belongs to the farming sector, how can we be ruled by the corporate sector?”

Comments

TRENDING

What's behind public sector banks showing huge profits in 2nd quarter of 2022-23?

By Thomas Franco*  The quarter two results of the public sector banks (PSBs) appear to be noteworthy compared to a few years ago. All these banks showed good profits in the financial year 2021-22. Twelve PSBs made a net profit of Rs 25,685 crore in quarter 2 of FY23 and a total of Rs 40,991 crore in the first half of 2023. The combined profit of 12 banks in March 2022 was Rs 66,539 crore which was 110% more than 2021 – Rs. 31,816 crore. The Asset Quality Review of 2015 saw a surge in NPAs of PSBs jumping to Rs 8.96 lakh crore in March 2018 from Rs 2.17 lakh crore in March 2014. This was simply because the norms for NPAs were changed from 180 days to 90 days, and all restructuring of even genuine accounts was done away with. In 2018 NPA of SBI was 5.73% which has come down to 0.8% in Q2 of FY23. The NPA of Canara Bank has come down to 2.19% from 7.48% in Mar 2018. The same trend is seen in all public banks. Now SBI has seen a jump of 74% in its net profit, while Canara Bank’s profit is

Business back to normal? IIM-A survey says, sales expectations have sharply improved

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management’s Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES), which polls a panel of business leaders to find out their perception of slack in economy, including their inflation expectations, year-ahead cost expectations and the factors influencing price changes, such as profit and sales levels, etc., has said that the cost perceptions data indicates signs of moderation in price pressures. Carried out for September, the survey says, the cost pressure of the reporting firms has shifted from “very significant increase (over 6%) to moderate increase (3.1% to 6%).” It adds, “The percentage of firms perceiving over 10% cost increase y-o-y has declined. Over 21% of the firms in September 2022 round of the survey perceive that costs have increased very significantly (over 10%) – down from 26% recorded in August 2022.” Claiming to be a unique survey, in that it goes straight to businesses -- the price setters -- rather than to consumers or household

Innovative, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's movies often banked on excessive sentimentalism

By Harsh Thakor*  Late Hrishikesh Mukherjee more popularly known as Hrishi Da, whose birth centenary was celebrated recently, ranks amongst India’s most progressive and innovative film makers, exhibiting mastery in craft of making socially relevant themes. Mukherjee knitted plots together with great visualisation and sensitivity, be it in comedy, pathos, anger or romance, weaving every ingredient in proper proportion.  Melodrama was restrained and scripts dissected with surgical skill. Without over romanticisation, Mukherjee would do complete justice to the role of the character. He did not champion art films, but gave commercial films an artistic touch. Rarely have artists transcended the medium of cinema to project the real essence of their cultural values so or film directors who narrate a simple tale of regular families that have characters of unique shades, characters which are bound to touch human emotions universally. His characters frequently underwent life-changing journeys

GoI's productivity linked incentives to corporates 'without independent analysis'

Counterview Desk  Wondering how prudent is the Government of India's (GoI's) Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, EAS Sarma, former secretary, GoI, in a representation to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance minister, has said it appears to be nothing more than subsidy to the private sector without any responsibility. Giving a specific example against the backdrop of announcement of 50% subsidy covering the project cost of the Vedanta Group's decision to set up a semiconductor fabrication plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Foxconn, Sarma says, "The total cost of this project is reported to be Rs 1,54,000 crore. 50% of this works out to Rs 77,000 crore." Stating that this creates the impression that the entire subsidy allocation for the semiconductor manufacturing sector would be appropriated by this company, Sarma says, "The Gujarat government did not lag behind in liberally announcing similar incentives for the Vedanta-Foxconn project. It offered 7

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".

There aren't any hard data to prove forced conversion, why move for a Central law?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Srinivasan Jain, the popular TV anchor with NDTV, has done a tremendous service to the Constitution of India and, thereby, to the people of India! In a hard-hitting exposé on his weekly segment ‘Truth vs Hype’, released on 19 November, Jain talks about the so-called ‘Forced Conversions’ with incontrovertible facts and the falsehoods and myths that are built around the issue!   A good part of his expose is an interview with Ashwin Kumar Upadhyay, the petitioner in the current case on ‘forced conversions’ in the Supreme Court. Jain directly takes on Upadhyay and the 65-page petition submitted by the latter to the Supreme Court. Jain emphatically states that not a single example cited by Upadhyay in the petition comes under the ambit of ‘forced conversion’.  In fact, Jain proves that one of the examples is completely fake! Upadhyay, however, continues with his rant without being able to authenticate or substantiate or furnish a single bit of evidence to prove his

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Diminishing returns: Hydro projects contribute less than 10% of India's power generation

Counterview Desk  Pointing out that India’s hydro generation remains around 10% for the last six years, the advocacy group South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that power generation from hydropower projects continues to show diminishing returns, as has been the story close to three decades now. Yet, says SANDRP in a note, the Government of India continues to push large hydro by announcing a slew of additional subsidies for hydropower projects, more for political economy reason. In fact, attempts are being made to flog unviable hydropower projects with various kind of manipulations, illegalities and violations, it adds. Text : In last six years, from 2016-17 to 2021-22, India’s large hydropower projects (projects above 25 MW installed capacity) have contributed just around 10% of the total power generation, going as low as 9.68% in 2017-18. In fact, in three of these six years, large hydro contributed less than 10% and recovering only marginally in the rest,

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist, and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep! She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articles,