Skip to main content

DMIC will have to extract 66% of water need from polluted rivers, 'depleted' aquifers

By Gaurav Dwivedi*
Since the inception of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), concerns have been raised by the local communities in different states about the large projects being implemented under it and their serious impacts on the ecology, land acquisition, local economy and livelihoods.
DMIC faces scrutiny about the operational mechanisms being used for implementation of projects like creation of multiple special purpose vehicles (SPVs) and public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Concerns have also been raised about the role of national and international financial institutions in pushing the projects further, the conditions these institutions impose for driving profits and their impacts on local communities. The issue of wider public consultations and the role of people’s representatives within local governments in decision making processes have been sidelined.
Concerns over environmental degradation, land acquisition, dispossession and loss for agriculture based livelihoods have been voiced by various groups including grassroots organisations, farmers, academics and researchers.
Projects implemented under DMIC use land pooling mechanisms for procuring land required for them rather than applying the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013. It has been argued that land pooling mechanism is ambiguous and misleads land owners to hand over their lands for project implementation.
For instance, in Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) land pooling mechanism works by taking 50 per cent of the land of each owner “deducted” at market price, the rest returned to the original owners as “developed” plots in re-designated zones under the new plan criteria.
A betterment charge would be levied on the original owners for the provision of new infrastructure facilities, deducted from the compensation award for 50 per cent of the land. In addition, each affected family is promised one job per family in the Dholera SIR.
It also includes Dholera Smart City, claimed to be identified as the first smart city in the country twice the size of Delhi and six times of Shanghai. It has already received Rs 3,000 crore funding from the government and looks forward to attract more from private investors.
Land pooling is done under Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act (GTPUDA), 1976 as enabled under the Gujarat Special Investment Region Act, 2009.While the town planning law contains provisions for the participation of local bodies and residents in the determination of compensation and award, it makes no provisions for ascertaining consent to land pooling for the project.
The rezoning under the new plan also sacrifices agricultural land by categorising the land as industrial or urban space. Hence the land owners, who are supposed to benefit from this practice, lose their ability to farm or provide for themselves as they had done before.
Another concern with the land pooling scheme is the time frame that the redevelopment requires. The owners will not receive their newly developed land within a year and thus must wait until development is completed.
The Dighi Port and Industrial Area in Maharashtra and Dharuhera Industrial Estate in Haryana have seen protests from local people against land acquisition and setting up industries in the region.
Equity shareholders in DMIC
Concerns have also been raised that due to the immense land requirements of the projects under DMIC, these might potentially lead to social issues. DMIC projects have the potential to create land speculation and social conflicts.
The potential for social unrest becomes very high when public investment are channelled into real estate and industrial projects without providing basic infrastructure for local industries and population centres. Evidences suggest that large scale infrastructure projects can be associated with increased household and regional inequalities.
IL&FS has faced legal issues due to its business practices, revealed in 2010. It was able to use SPVs to skirt checks and balances
Critiques around DMIC also include the environmental impacts that it will have in view of the proposed large scale urbanisation and industrialisation. The land for the greenfield projects will require deforestation in the states that are part of the project.
For instance, 70 per cent of mangroves around Mumbai have been lost to land reclamation and other development projects and less than 45 sq km of mangrove forests remain.23 Land will not only be taken from farmers but also from the natural environments of various types of Indian wildlife.
For example, Dholera is planned to be built close to the Velavadar National Park that has a blackbuck sanctuary. Concerns have been raised about how the industrial city will impact the national park that is home to many endangered species.
It has also been noted that Dholera will sit within the migratory route of wintering birds to India. The risk associated with the immense deforestation are well known, increased deforestation leads to increased incidences of wildfires, drought like conditions, and depleted groundwater.
The large scale industrialisation that the DMIC envisions will also require immense amounts of water, which will be taken away from farmers and domestic users alike. In areas of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat already suffering from severe water stress, the implementation of large scale industry will only make conditions worse.
It is estimated that DMIC will have to extract two-thirds of the total water need from rivers and the rest from severely stressed groundwater aquifers, which are already polluted and overexploited. It is suggested that the regions where DMIC is planned face groundwater deficit, hence the water would be diverted from the rivers.
Though all the utilisable flow in the rivers of the region is already fully utilised by current users, developing DMIC will overdraw the water and impact the health of the rivers as well.
A majority of DMIC projects are being implemented through PPP mode with SPVs being created to execute specific projects. Several instances have shown that the track record of PPPs in India is not encouraging and many of these projects have looked for public support to make them financially viable in terms of grants, loans and concessions.
While discussing SPVs, it is important to note that DMIC initially had Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) as an equity shareholder in the project, though it appears that equity stake held by it was subsequently replaced by public sector backed entities Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) and Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
IL&FS has faced legal issues due to its business practices that were revealed in 2010. It was able to use SPVs to skirt checks and balances concerning its business dealings. It managed to allocate project funds to its subsidiaries, which allowed money to be taken from the projects they were intended to fund. SPVs are registered as private entities having near full autonomy.
They are tasked with regulating themselves within the scope of what projects they are established for. Using SPVs, IL&FS was able to misallocate huge funds that were supposed to go to projects they were in charge of.
It handled many DMIC projects until it was forced to divest from the DMIC in 2013. It is worrisome to consider the potential for mismanagement to happen again bearing in mind that majority of the projects are now implemented through a SPV based model.
---
*Excerpt from the paper "Mega industrial-infrastructure projects and their impact on people", published by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung India

Comments

Rakesh Manda said…
Thanks for sharing. nice information.

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

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 the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

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

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".

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

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

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Amit Shah accused of inciting communal passion: Demand to postpone Gujarat polls

Counterview Desk  In an email representation to the Election Commission of India (ECI), Dr EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India, has objected to the statement reported to have been made by Union home minister Amit Shah, who allegedly justified the 2002 Gujarat riots stating that certain sections of people “taught a lesson” to the rioters. Noting that the statement, if correct, “in effect implies those other than the law enforcement authorities had taken law into their hands”, Sarma says, “Shah's statement needs to be viewed by the ECI in conjunction with the reported fact that it was the Union Home Ministry that cleared the release of the eleven rape convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, directly related to the infamous Godhra incidents in 2002, which triggered the shameful sequence of events that shook the nation's conscience.” According to Sarma, if the statement is true, “I am constrained to draw the inevitable inference that it would have already impacted th