Skip to main content

Gujarat's concerned citizens demand to make public details of "polluted" Narmada waters

Counterview Desk
Several concerned citizens* of Gujarat led by top Vadodara-based environmentalist Rohit Prajapati have in a letter to the chairperson, Narmada Control Authority, Government of India have demanded immediate disclosure of reasons behind the presence of sulphide and decrease in dissolved oxygen (DO) in Sardar Sarovar Dam and its canals, which has led to the death of fishes.
The letter -- copies of which have also gone to the Gujarat chief secretary; principal secretary, Narmada; chairman and managing director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd; and chairperson and member secretary, Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board (GWSSB) -- says that authorities are spending huge amount to develop tourism in this area, but don't have resources to inform the public about the quality of crucial water source or had played down the crisis for reasons best known to them.

Text of the letter:

The Sardar Sarovar Dam is understood to be the lifeline of Gujarat and is considered to be the solution to water problem of almost the entire state.
Recent media reports say that the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels are decreasing in Sardar Sarovar Dam waters and may have caused the sudden mass death of fishes.
This raises concerns about the quality of water and possible contamination. The media reports indicate that the authorities are now inclined to believe that a seismic activity at the bottom of the reservoir could have caused a temporary release of toxic gases.
The concerned authorities are reportedly seeking the help of the Oceanography Department that is most likely to have the equipments and know-how to collect samples from the base of reservoirs.RB Trivedi of the Ankleshwar Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) said to a press reporter:
"We can confirm that the toxicity reported in the dam waters on January 30 was not a result of any external pollutant or waste or chemical being dumped into the dam as many rumors are making rounds. In fact, this incident has necessitated that a thorough qualitative and quantitative analysis of the water has to be undertaken. What we can say as of now is that the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) was very low from its ideal point of 4.2 mg/liter."
We strongly feel that the water samples from the bottom of the dam must be collected and analysed to find out the real reasons behind the decrease in dissolved oxygen.
It is also reported in the news that the silt at the base of dams that have stagnant reservoirs could emit toxic gases following a seismic activity at the base. The GPCB reportedly confirmed that it had sought the seismology report of the Narmada basin from January 25 onwards to ascertain if any such tremor could have triggered the toxicity.
One more explanation given to people is that the monsoon deficit for the last two years and the simultaneous increase in the height of the dam meant that there was no overflow from the reservoir. This caused the water to remain stagnant for over two years. The presence of the original aquatic flora and fauna as well as the accumulated silt in the stagnant water can result in acidic reactions with the oxygen in the water.
The preliminary report of GWSSB has indicated the presence of sulphide in the water. And, that is why the water supply to 138 villages in Narmada and Chhota Udepur districts was stopped and later on started.
The concerned authorities are spending huge amount for tourism in this very area to attract tourists. It is surprising that they had no resource to inform the public about the quality of crucial water source or had played down the crisis for reasons best known to them.
The piecemeal information released through media by various authorities raises fundamental question about the crisis. With so much of public and media coverage with various explanations being offered we, the people of Gujarat, request the concerned department to make the following information public and keep the public updated with all the related information:
  • When and how did the concerned authorities come to know of the problem? 
  • Who had reported the gas emission? Based on what evidence or data? 
  • Which departments are doing investigation? 
  • Status report of the investigation done uptill now. 
  • Interim report of the alarming situation. 
  • When is the final report expected? 
  • Reasons behind the incident and plan of action to prevent such incidents in future. 
  • Short term and long term plan of the concerned authorities to thwart and address such crisis in the future.
We ask you to immediately display the above information in detail in public domain and also by giving prominent public notice / announcements in the newspapers for the larger public.
---
*Signatories: Rohit Prajapati, Sagar Rabari, Saroop Dhruv, Charul Bharwada, Raju Solanki, Rajni Dave, Swati Desai, Prasad Chacko, Hiren Gandhi , Mudita Vidrohi, Anand Mazgaonkar, Vinay Mahajan, Krishnakant, Dev Desai, Lakhan Musafir, Praful Vasava, Hemant Shah, Mahesh Pandya, Manishi Jani, Rohit Shukla, and Indukumar Jani

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

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.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.