Skip to main content

Where did 4.28 MAF Narmada water disappear after Dec 2017 assembly polls? Farmers' leader writes to CM

Counterview Desk
Sagar Rabari, general secretary, Gujarat Khedut Samaj (GKS), has in an open letter to chief minister Vijay Rupani, sought what he calls "transparent account of Narmada water", flowing from the Sardar Sarovar dam into the main canal, suggesting how it may have been misused for political ends during the December 2017 Gujarat state assembly elections.

Text of the letter:

Post-Assembly elections (2017) the issue of Narmada water grabbed peoples attention. Earlier the farmers were being confused by the allegations and counter-allegations on the issue of the dam height and gates. But now, despite the dam gates being in place when the Narmada water has not reached the fields the farmers are beginning to get an idea of the real picture. More so when on January 12, 2018 you advised the farmers not to sow the summer crop, the farmers were truly awakened. For that, many thanks.
At this state I specially wish to draw your attention to the Water Use Plan (guidelines and plan for the use of the water which the Government of Gujarat [GoG] has, from time to time, presented to the World Bank, the Supreme Court and the Government of India [GoI]) made for the water available from the Narmada river. The Plan clearly states two things:
1. The Water Use Plan includes the Narmada water as well as surface and groundwater use plan, and,
2. Any change in the planned use of the water will require the approval of the Gujarat Government without which no change can be made in this plan.
Point No 2: Non-agriculture Use of Water of this Plan states that:
"2.1: NWDT (Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal) considered a water need of 1.06 MAF (million acre feet) for domestic and other non-agricultural uses in Gujarat on full development. These uses include requirements for urban and rural areas mostly in the command but to some extent outside the command where other water supply possibilities did not exist.
"2.2: The total requirement for domestic, industrial and thermal power projects works out to 1.37 MAF including 0.48 MAF from outside sources as given in Table-1.
"2.3: Out of the total requirement of 1.37 MAF for non-agricultural use, 0.48 MAF is expected to be available from local sources while 0.14 MAF is expected from recharge drawls. The balance of 0.75 MAF will have to be met from the Narmada Canal System. Adding thereto losses in the system, the gross demand on the Narmada Canal System works out to around 1 MAF.
"2.5: There is no change in the Industrial Water Supply from the Project. The water usage plan, as such, remains unchanged. However, if surplus water, overflowing Sardar Sarovar Dam during monsoon, is available it was proposed to utilize such water, if feasible, for the Industrial Usage. However, it may be required to clarify in unambiguous terms that the industrial water usage from the Project remains unchanged."

Sagar Rabari
Now to the main issue of the account of water sought from the SSNNL and given by it.
In response to my Right to Information (RTI) application dated February 8, 2018, the public information officer (PIO) and deputy genral manager (Narmada) has, vide response (SSNNL/RTI/2018/26/Dam&Power), has informed me: The total quantum of water available to Gujarat State for the year 2017-18 was 4.80 MAF, of which 4.68 MAF was used up till February 2018.
In response to query No 3 of the said RTI, the executive engineer, Narmada Yojana and Main Canal Section No 2 (inward No:PB-3/RTI/Water/1094/ dated April 30, 2018), states:
"The quantum of water released between 1st July 2017 and 12 January 2018 is:
Irrigation: 297.8681 MCM (million cubic metre)
Drinking water: 197.1627 MCM
Industrial use: 011.8412 MCM
Total: 488.8721 MCM".

When we convert MCM to AF (acre feet), the total comes to 3,96,335.05583 AF (this is the figure till January 12, 2018, i.e. a total of 196 days).
Deducting 3,96,335 AF from 46,80,000 AF, then 42,83,665 AF, i.e. 4.28 MAF water should be available in the dam on January 13, 2018.
This means that:
1. The answers to the RTI queries are not truthful;
2. The water was used for political purposes, rather than the mandated uses; or,
3. There is massive corruption in the usage of the dam water.
The questions, doubts, apprehensions and suspicions arising in the minds of the farmers of Gujarat can only be allayed if you provide honest and truthful answers to the same.
We, the farmers, want to know, from you:
1. Who informed you that there is no water in the dam, if, on January 13, 2018, 4.28 MAF water was available in the dam?
2. On what basis or calculation did your advisor advise you to make the announcement to the farmers on not to saw summer crops?
3. If, however, there was really no water in the dam, then where did the 4.28 MAF water disappeared?
4. Will you order an inquiry into this anomaly? Can the GoG, considered to be among the best in digital India and e-governance, make arrangements to the daily usage of dam water on the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) and irrigation department websites?
5. If the information provided to me is false then can you order that I be provided fresh information in simple and easy-to-understand language? Alternatively, can you arrange a meeting of a responsible officer (Engineer) of SSNNL with the farmer leaders to explain the account of water usage?
I hope that you, an advocate of zero tolerance for corruption, will answer my questions honestly and truthfully. If we do not get truthful answers and/or if the officers are not ready to come and talk to farmers then how can farmers trust that GoG and SSNNL are honest and that their water is not being diverted elsewhere? How will they believe that the GoG is not a partner in the criminal misuse or stealth or diversion of the Narmada water?
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Chairman SSNNL for information. The entire Narmada scheme was for the farmers and the people of Gujarat and they have a right to know what is happening there. Hence I am also releasing it to the press for wider coverage.
Hoping for a fruitful answer from you.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

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.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”