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29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Narmada waters in Sabarmati riverfront, Ahmedabad
Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Text of the letter:

In response to my earlier letter to you dated 28th October, 2018 I have received a routine reply that my letter has been forwarded to the Narmada and Kalpsar Department. However, the data emerging from the RTI application are truly shocking.
The reply of the Acting Engineer, Narmada Irrigation and Canal Dept. no. 2 Gandhinagar (no. ja.va.no. PB-3/RTI/Paani/1094, dated 30/4/2018) states that:
“In the 6.5 months between 1st July and 12th January 2018 a total of 101.81993 MCM (10,18,19,930 Cubic Meter) i.e. 12699.52055596923 acre feet (AF), i.e 12,700 acre feet water was released into the Sabarmati river.” If we calculate this for 12 months then it comes to 23,446 acre feet of water released into the Sabarmati river.
In addition, the reply states, Ahmedabad city gets “330 ML from Narmada main canal through gravity and 275 ML from Dholka branch canal daily”. This comes to 605 ML daily which is 391 AF. This amounts to 1,42,715 AF annually taken for Ahmedabad city from the Narmada canal.
Thus, Ahmedabad city and Sabarmati river itself take away 1,68,233 AF water directly from the Narmada water and canal.
GIFT City
GIFT City receives 4 ML daily, 1460 ML annually i.e. 146,00,00,000 litres comes to 1184 AF of water from the Narmada canal and river.
Shantigram Township, at the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, receives 3 ML of water daily, which amounts to 1095 ML annually, i.e. 1,09,50,00,000 litres, which is 888 AF water annually.
Similarly, the response from Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd (dated 10/5/2018, No GWIL/RTI/no.225/761/2018) reveals: “(We have) lifted a total of 561079.99 ML water between 01/04/2017 and 31/03/2018.” This amounts to 5,61,07,99,90,000 litres of water from different branch canals of Narmada canal. Annually this comes to 4,54,874.9441 AF water!
The cumulative total is:
Sabarmati river 23,446 AF
Ahmedabad city 1,42,71 AF
GIFT City 1,184 AF
Shantigram 888 AF
GWIL 4,54,875 AF
Total 6,23,108 AF
In simple language, this means that:
  • Sabarmati river, Ahmedabad city, GIFT city and Shantigram Township alone use up 1,68,233 AF water each year;
  • While the villages, taluka and district headquarters of North Gujarat, Saurashtra, and Kutch get only 4,27,011 AF water over the entire year.
Adanis' Shantigram township
Of the water lifted by GWIL, the distribution by districts to industries daily is as under: (figures in MLD):
Jamnagar/Devbhoomi Dwarka 37.184
Kutch 31.065
Bhavnagar 17.588
Amreli 3.686
Rajkot/Morbi 1.340
Junagadh/Gir Somnath 2.924
Ahmedabad/Botad 0.411
Total 94.162
This comes to 34369.13 ML annually (34369130000 litres) i.e. 27863.5067 AF water annually.
In the same vein, SSNNL directly provided 53.22 MLD water to industries in 2016-17 (19425.3 ML). The volume in AF is 15,784.3467 annually.
As per the data provided by SSNNL:

We have the accounts of water in AF. Out of the 5.08 MAF of water which is Gujarat’s share, what happened to the 50,80,000 AF of water? What did the SSNNL do with it? We, the farmers, demand the account of the missing 44,41,144 AF of water from the dam which was built in our name and for us.
The picture of water usage does not emerge clearly from the figures of RTI response. We demand answers to the following questions from you:
  1. Was the Narmada dam built to provide greenery and lawns and golf courses to GIFT City and Shantigram or was it to water the farmers’ fields?
  2. We demand to know why the 4 big irrigation schemes of GoG have utterly failed. Put another way, Narmada dam has so far only provided irrigation to 6,28,011 ha. The talukas under dark zone increased just as the Sujlam Suflam scheme was announced. Kalpsar, which is invoked at every election but has seen no progress. And finally, SAUNI yojana where cricket matches are played in the dam.
  3. If, as per the NCA website there was 2628 MCM water (21,30,554.24AF) in the dam on 04/10/2018, then why is water not being provided to farmers reeling under drought?
  4. As per the figures of the dam (04/10/2018) even if we keep 10,00,000 AF water in reserve for drinking water and industrial uses, why is the rest of the 11,30,554.24 AF water not being provided to the farmers? Is the water being kept in reserve to showcase it to the industrialists due to visit Gujarat during the VGGIS 2019?
  5. There has been scant rainfall and there is no possibility of more, and drought is certainly there. Yet, your government is lackadaisical in declaring areas as “drought-affected”. Why? Is it to facilitate insurance companies to get away without paying the insurance claims which would then become due to the farmers? Are we wrong to suspect that you are sacrificing farmers and their livelihoods to help insurance companies?
Moreover,
  1. We demand monthly figures pertaining to total water released into the main canal each month, and how much water from that was given to GWIL?
  2. We want to know how much water was released into Sabarmati river each month between 1st July 2017 and 30th June 2018?
  3. We want to know, of that water released into the Sabarmati river, how many industries took how much water each month?
  4. we want month-wise figures (between 1st July 2017 and 30th June 2018) of how many AF of water did SSNNL provide directly to Ahmedabad city, from which canals.
  5. We want to know how many acres/hectares per month were irrigated between 1st July 2017 and 30th June 2018.
  6. We want to know which cities and industries received water directly from SSNNL and/or GWIL and how much (in AF).
We wish to go to every village and every district with the answers that you provide. We want to inform the farmers of the exact account of the Narmada water and so it is essential that we receive truthful and official answers to our questions from you. Account of the Narmada water and the enigmatic silence of GoG on the Kalpsar project will become important issues in the forthcoming elections. For that reason we insist that we get truthful an official figures from your end.

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