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

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk
“Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).