Why Sardar Sarovar Dam being challenged

Present status of the Sardar Sarovar Project and Demands of Narmada Bachao Andolan




Rehabilitate all Families as per law; Review SSP in national interest


As on date, there are not less than 50,000 families (about 2,50,000 PAFs) in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), whose land and livelihood-based resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, 1979 (NWDTA), State Rehabilitation Policies, Judgements of the Supreme Court, 2000 & 2005 and  Orders of the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs) is yet to happen. These include thousands of hilly and plain area adivasis and other farmers, landless labourers, fish workers, potters, artisans, shop keepers, small traders, encroachers, adult sons, widow women etc. etc. All these families, organized as the Narmada Bachao Andolan, demand the following from the Government of India:


  1. Withdraw the ‘permission’ granted by the Narmada Control Authority and its Rehabilitation (R&R) and Environment Sub Group (ESG) for “construction of piers, over head bridge and installation of gates in open or raised position at Sardar Sarovar Project until the complete land and livelihood based rehabilitation of all the affected families as per the aforementioned legal framework is ensured, all environmental measures are complied with, inquiry into corruption is complete and action taken against responsible persons and a comprehensive cost-benefit appraisal is undertaken.  The Govt. Of India must infact be called upon to lower the water level in the reservoir, at least to 110.64 mts, since there are, to this day, thousands of families not yet rehabilitated under the present dam height of 121.92 mts.


  1. Environment Sub Group & R&R Sub Group must withdraw  ‘clearance’ given to SSP. NCA, along with both Sub-Groups must undertake a comprehensive field based and document-based exercise of checking the status of R&R of each and every PAF in the 245 SSP-affected villages in the 3 states, as also the status of environmental compliance. 


  1. Govt. of India must come out with  White Paper on the SSP – which must include the excact status of irrigation, power, drinking water potentional achieved at this stage and actual benefits attained: The White Paper must also provide exact status of environmetal complaince and rehabilitatoion of all cetegories of PAFs, at every stasge of the dam height, in the framework of NWDTA, state policies and Apex Court;’s Judgements.


  1. Ministry of Water Resources, Narmada Control Authority and the Planning Commission, along with the other concerned Ministries and involvement of the NBA and representatives of the PAFs must initiate a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the overall claims and benefits of the Project including irrigation, power generation, drinking water and assess the social, environmental, financial, cultural and human costs.


  1. Direct the Government of M.P. and Maharashtra to provide only cultivable, irrigable, and un-encroached land, along with house plots in developed resettlement sites to all the eligible PAFs. This can include Govt. farm land as directed by the R&R Sub Group and denuded forest land (identified in Maharashtra) and to be identified in M.P. Land Bank, which is mostly of uncultivable land or which is under decades of encroachment has been rejected by the GRA and all ex parte offers of such must be immediately cancelled.


  1. Direct the Government of M.P. and Maharashtra to stop all encashment of rehabilitation entitlements. In M.P, encashment has led to massive fake land registries and corruption of not less than 1,000 crores in the rehabilitation process, which is now under inquiry by Justice S.S Jha Commission as per the directions of the High Court since, 2008. The High Court has clearly stated that corruption implies no rehabilitation and violation of right to life and R&R cannot be considered as completed until the Report by the Commission is out and corrective measures are undertaken, including legal and punitive action against responsible agencies, officials and middlemen as also rehabilitation of all those who are duped in the R&R process.


  1. Direct the GoMP to withdraw all its Schemes of encashment of mandatory rehabilitation entitlements, such as SRP (in lieu of land), grant amount (in lieu of house plots); meagre monetary grants (in lieu of fishing rights in the reservoir, alternative livelihood to the landless etc) pushed in violation of NWDTA and SC’s judgements.


  1. In the case of about 1500 PAFs who have been stranded after receiving the 1st instalment of the cash package (SRP) and have not been able to purchase land due to the nexus of middlemen and officials and high land prices, the GoMP has introduced a completely unlawful scheme dated 6-9-2010 of compulsory deposit of the meagre second installment, without ensuring land for land. This is totally illegal and violates right to land of hundreds of SCs and STs. NCA, we demand, must take a clear position that the Scheme is totally unlawful and must direct the GoMP to immediately withdraw the same and provide cultivable land to all such PAFs.


  1. Inquiry by Justice Jha Commission is underway for the past 5 years and the Commission has issued interim progress reports, which indicate the mammoth scale of investigation into fake registries, house plot allotments, disbursement of livelihood grants, fraud in civic works at R&R sites etc. Only upon completion of inquiry, would it be known as to how many thousands of PAFs have been cheated, how many are yet to obtain land, house plots, alternative livelihood etc. as per law. Thus, the Govt. of India must acknowledge that rehabilitation is far from complete in the case of thousands of PAFs.


  1. There are thousands of families who have already faced the illegal impact of submergence without rehabilitation, especially hilly adivasis since 1993 and even the plain area PAFs since 2001 and again in 2012 and 2013 in M.P, Maharashtra and Gujarat. The GRA (M.P.) has upheld the right to compensation of such PAFs, which the NVDA is resisting on totally legally untenable grounds. The Govt. of India must take a clear stand on this and direct that all such PAFs, are granted compensation, on the basis of ‘Joint Panchanamas’ and actual losses incurred by them.


  1. Direct the GoMP to initiate the process of village-wise joint checking to finalize the list of all PAFs, who are affected, but have not been declared so, as per the assurance given by the joint team of Director, NVDA and Director (Rehabilitation), NCA to the PAFs on 19th July, 2012, during their visit to Kharya Bhadal hilly adivasi village in M.P.


  1. Direct the GoMP to provide livelihood-based rehabilitation to all the landless PAFs, fish workers, potters, small traders as per the R&R Policy, Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the procedure envisaged in the NVDA’s Action Plan, 1993, including recognition of the fish workers’ co-operatives.


  1. Direct the Government of Maharashtra to ensure the land-based rehabilitation of all the hilly adivasis, still residing in the original villages and also ensure that the pending entitlements of all the PAFs, residing at the R&R sites is guaranteed, as per the discussions and agreement with the Collectorare, Nandurbar. Direct the Govt. of Gujarat to ensure land based R&R to hundreds of families both in the original villages and resettlement sites whose are yet to be given land or whose bad quality lands need to be exchanged.


  1. The states governments, especially M.P. and Maharashtra must also be directed to ensure all services including medical and health care, rations, ICDS services, boat transport etc. in the hilly adivasi villages, encircled by the reservoir in the 3 states.


  1. Direct the three states in strongest terms to comply with all the directions of the GRA in every single case, such as land based R&R of minor joint landholders, rights of widow oustees, compensation for illegal submergence / lack of timely R&R, allotment of cultivable and un-encroached land etc. and stop the practice of challenging the GRA’s orders in the High Court.


  1. Direct NVDA and GoMP to immediately provide adequate relief to all the affected families and villages including adequate rations, tarpolin sheets, wooden logs, iron pipes & asbestos sheets for construction of temporary sheds, health services, safe drinking water etc.


  1.  Ensure that no further submergence would occur in any of the villages, due to increase in the level of the Sardar Sarovar reservoir or by the waters to be released from the other dams, without lawful rehabilitation and declare a clear mechanism for regulation and monitoring of water releases, across the cascade of dams on the Narmada and scrupulously implement the same, in order to ensure that the PAFs have sufficient, timely notice of rise in water levels and no damage to human life and properties occur.
  2. Expert Committees appointed by the MoEF have concluded umpteen violations and non-compliance on various conditional measures including command area development (CAD), catchment area treatment, compensatory afforestation, seismicity impacts, down stream impacts, seismicity, archeology etc. stipulated by the environmental clearance granted in 1987. Each state and much more Gujarat would lose its land due to water logging and salinization if it has not done necessary work on command area development. The Govt. Of India must ensure full and timely compliance on all these conditions, before pushing Project work ahead.


  1. Uphold the Report of the Expert Committee of MoEF on the issue of Back Water Levels and direct the GoMP not to mislead the oustees and GRA, by pushing ahead the flawed ‘revised’ BWLs.  NCA and Central water Commission must withdraw the Report on the ‘Revised BWLs’ and conduct fresh accurate surveys, as per NWDTA, in a time-bound manner, including all the nallahs (drains), tributaries etc. The affected villages must also be involved in this process by the CWC and NCA.


  1. Direct the Govt. of M.P. to cancel the canal network of Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar Dams, that is excavating Sardar Sarovar and Maheshwar Dam affected villages on the Narmada Banks and other villages which have a high percentage of irrigation. No canals without drainage and other Command Area development Works, compensation due to loss of land due to canals and full rehabilitation must be fully ensured.


  1. NCA must direct the GoMP to immediately stop all illegal sand mining in the river bank or river bed of Narmada and her tributaries and the directly / indirectly draining catchment of the SSP, that has infact increased the risk of illegal submergence and comply fully with the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Orders of the National Green Tribunal.


There must be no further decision making process with regard to raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, until:


  • all rehabilitation and environmental safeguard measures are complied with, as per law.


  • all the costs and benefits are fully reviewed


  • all Judgements of the Supreme Court and Orders of GRAs are executed and


  • inquiry by the Justice Jha Commission is complete, report submitted and lawful action taken against all persons responsible for corruption.


August, 2014







  • BECAUSE even today, about 48,000 families live in the submergence area of the Sardar Sarovar Dam – thousands of farmers and tribals are being denied their legal right to cultivable land based rehabilitation, thousands of landless workers, fishermen, potters, small traders, are being deprived of their livelihood without rehabilitation and well-settled flourishing villages are being submerged.
  • BECAUSE thousands of hectares of prime cultivable land, rich variety of farm produce, lakhs of trees, temples, mosques, hospitals, markets, tribal gods and goddesses in the submergence area of hills and plains of the valley – spread across 245 villages in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat will be consigned to a watery grave!
  • BECAUSE in the name of rehabilitation, farmers have been mostly given barren and non-cultivable lands or meagre cash compensation. The resettlement sites are not in a state of habitation. In such a situation, the decision to flood the thickly populated original villages with the dam waters is a ghastly inhumanity.
  • BECAUSE a massive corruption scam of Rs. 1,000 crores is being investigated by a High Court appointed Judicial Commission since the last 5 years. Approximately 3,000 false registries, embezzlement of crores of rupees in 88 resettlement sites, fraud in house plot allocations, disbursement of livelihood grants has led to loot of thousands of poor and illiterate by the nexus of middlemen and officials. The hasty decision to drown the Narmada Valley, before the Report come out in public domain and action taken against the corrupt is nothing but a political conspiracy.


  • BECAUSE the judgements and orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court are being violated, hundreds of complaints are still pending before the Grievance Reressal Authorities and the decision to push the dam ahead without rehabilitation is nothing short of judicial contempt.


  • BECAUSE thousands of poor, dalits, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities, women, widows and children are being denied their legal rights in an unjust manner and their lives are being destroyed.
  • BECAUSE 70,000 crore rupees has been the estimated dam cost at 2012 prices and the present estimates go upto 90,000 crores ! In the garb of irrigation, electricity and drinking water the people of Gujarat also are being misled. Same is the plight of people in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra who are being looted in the name of ‘free power’, while these two states are contributing in terms of thousands of hectares of land, forests, investments and river itself !
  • BECAUSE Narmada Valley is being drowned by projecting false statistics and promises of free electricity; while even after the 17 mts height increase, there would only be a marginal increase of 10-20% more electricity.
  • BECAUSE even though Mr. Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat and despite no protests against the construction of canals, barely 30% canals have been constructed so far. Using less than 20% of the water of the reservoir is a failure of the Gujarat Government. It is also a sham against the people of Kutch and Saurashtra. Even after throwing thousands of families in the submergence zone, irrigation of only 2 lakh hectares of land is a serious fraud!
  • BECAUSE depriving the primary beneficiaries (farmers and villagers) and diverting water and land to industries and corporates is a betrayal of the people of the Gujarat and the Narmada valley, too. Isn’t giving away 1000 litres of water at just Rs. 10 to companies in the name of development a way of promoting loot?
  • BECAUSE the decision to de-notify 70,000 hecatres of land from the command (beneficiary) area and plan to exclude 4 lakh hectares, is only aimed at fetching profits to companies by snatching away the legitimate rights of farmers and villages.
  • BECAUS the Central Environment Ministry has already rejected the questionable report of the Narmada Control Authority to exclude 55 villages and Dharampuri township from the affected zone. The 2013 monsoon submergence has proven that at the full height of 138 metres, and in the event of high flood, none of the properties acquired will be saved. The game of numbers, false surveys and paper rehabilitation is illegal and un-acceptable.
  • BECAUSE many reports of expert committees appointed by the Environment Ministry have proven that the clearance conditions have been violated.. Though crores of rupees are shown to have been spent on command area development, compensatory afforestation, health impacts, fisheries, seismic risks, archaeological impacts etc. yet the requisite studies and safeguard measures, as per law, are not in place.
  • BECAUSE the politics of displacement and tourism is being pushed ahead in the name of late farmer’s leader, Sardar Patel; expenditure of 3,000 crores  (more than the cost of rehabilitation of 3 states) on the ‘Statue of Unity’ Project is inhuman and a disgrace to Sardar Patel himself.


  • Therefore, we the people of Narmada Valley are fighting not only for our rights, but also for the welfare of our country.
  • Sardar Sarovar has become a

Monument of Mismanagement and Monument of Injustice

  • We challenge the hasty, unlawful and unjust decision

of increasing the dam height by 17 mts.



1,000 crores corruption under judicial inquiry since 5 years


[Even as the Narmada Control Authority Annual Reports state that the balance families in the SSP Submergence area is ‘0’, while 2.5 lakh people continue to reside here, corruption worth about 1,000 crores is under inquiry by the Justice S.S. Jha Commission appointed by the High Court]

Sl. No. Category of corruption / irregularity & Commission’s task Scale of corruption under inquiry and value (approx) Status of Inquiry and Comment
3000+ Fake land registries More than 3,000 fake registries – Each registry is worth 5.58 lakhs i.e. a few hundreds crore rupees has been wasted away – money spent from state exchequer – but land entitlement not ensured. Inquiry into more than 2000 registries is almost over and in most cases, the registry has turned out to be fake and the names of middlemen and officials who have cheated the oustees is out, whose role is now under inquiry.
Irregularities in the civic amenities at 88 resettlement (R&R) sites Physical verification to check alleged sub-standard quality of more than 800 R&R structures including panchayat bhavans, schools, dispensaries, seed stores, hand pumps, cisterns,  roads, electricity poles, culverts, drains, tree platforms. Field Visit to 88 sites by the Commission, along with technical experts from MANIT, Bhopal and assistance from IIT, Mumbai has been concluded. Report submitted to Commission and arguments of NVDA and NBA heard. CAG’s expose in 2004 already led to suspension of more than 37 officials of NVDA, and 30 more charged but action not taken.
Irregularities in

House Plot Allotment

25,000 house plots allotted in M.P – Irregularity in disbursement of thousands of plots, purchase of plots by non-oustees, under scrutiny Commission has stayed change of plots, new construction, planning of the R&R sites, encashment, process of house plot allotment under scrutiny.
Corruption in alternative livelihood to 8,000 landless Meagre cash disbursements through fake documents leave 8,000 landless, fish workers, potters without livelihood: under inquiry Commission is yet to begin detailed inquiry into this aspect of corruption wherein no productive assets have been purchased.
Compensation to ineligible persons and properties Crores of rupees worth corruption by compensating non-existent, ineligible properties, constructed only for compensation. Part haring concluded – Commission yet to hear detailed submissions on massive corruption of this kind in numerous villages. Depositions pending.
Declaration of ineligible persons and exclusion of eligible PAFs Hundreds of ineligible persons compensated due to corruption while hundreds others, despite being eligible are left out. Inquiry of 4374 families declared ineligible in a questionable manner also pending. Hearing, submissions by the NBA and NVDA and Inquiry is under way. Each and every document is being summoned by the Commission and investigated.
Inquiry into changed back water levels (BWLs) 55 villages and one huge township (Dharampuri) declared to be out of submergence, on the basis of ‘revised’ back water levels that have been rejected by the MoEF Expert Committee in 2010. Commission has called for Report from the NCA and hearing is pending. The entire process reeks of corruption, false, incomplete surveys and estimates. This has been exposed by the severe submergence of August, 2012 and 2013.
Scrutiny before disbursement of cash grant (2nd installment) in lieu of land to 1,500 PAFs Detailed scrutiny and Inquiry is on in the case of 1,500 PAFs who could not purchase land out of meagre cash installment (SRP). NVDA has taken questionable affidavits and deposited cash in the bank accounts of 400 PAFs – this has been stayed by the Commission. High Court’s order of 18-07-2013 has upheld Commission’s scrutiny power,  challenged by NVDA. Thus, all land offers, affidavits, disbursements is under scrutiny. Supreme Court has granted an interim stay in 400 Cases, but inquiry into thousands of other cases pending. Commission is also inspecting some of the land bank sites offered to the PAFs.
Scrutiny before disbursement of SRP – cash grant (1st  installment) in lieu of land Cases of hundreds of oustees, whose entitlement is recently being established by the GRA, and are being entangled by the same middlemen–official racket to accept cash in lieu of land under scrutiny. NVDA pushing ahead cases of cash disbursement in lieu of land – Commission has a mandate to scrutinize all these cases within the framework of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Apex Court’s and High Court’ orders.
Scrutiny of all other cash grants (house compensation, rehabilitation grants As per Supreme Court’s order, of 11th May, 2009; the Commission has to scrutinize every single cash / cheque disbursement, to ensure there is no corruption. Thus, thousands of cases of disbursement are awaiting scrutiny. The process is underway by the Commission and is an enormous task, although unique of its kind in the history of the R&R implementation, since a mechanism to ensure that no further corruption takes place has been instituted.



to save the right to life & livelihood of 48 thousand families affected by Sardar Sarovar Dam

to recall illegal decision of Indian Govt. to raise the dam height by 17 mts


Displacement and Destitution of Lakhs: Investment of Millions & Crores of Corruption


Rehabilitate Oustees and Review SSP: Halt Height Increase


F Project cost shoots up to 90,000 Crores

F Only 30% Canals built in 30 years !

F Claim of 8 lakh ha irrigation at present dam height of 122 mts ! Actual Irrigation less than 2 lakh hectares

F 4 lakh hectares land excluded from command area !

F Command area land and reservoir water diverted to corporates !!

F Fake political promises of ‘free electricity to M.P. and Maharashtra

F Thousands of litres of waters for bottled water industry at throwaway prices!

F 3000 crores investment for Sardar Patel Tourism Project !

F 245 villages in 3 states – 30,000 hectares of prime farm land, forests, thousands of houses, lakhs of trees etc. in submergence !


F Rehabilitation of 50,000 families of farmers, fish workers, tribals, potters, boats men, artisans, shop keepers, landless workers incomplete.


F At least 30,000 hectares land need for rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.


F Games of numbers: exclusion of thousands of eligible oustees, 55 villages and a huge township declared ‘out of submergence’ due to flawed back water levels – Lives of thousands of oustees at risk.


F 1,000 crores corruption scam and more than 3000 fake land registries judicial scanner since 5 years.



Costs increase by 10 times ! Less than 10% claimed benefits realized!

Violation of Narmada Award and Judgements of Supreme Court unacceptable








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