Tag Archives: Narmada

‘ Govt favouring industries’

Narmada’s irrigation water diverted for industries, says Medha Patkar

Indore: Hardly a day has passed after the State Cabinet meeting was held at Narmada- Kshipra merging spot in village Ujjaini, when Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar has alleged that the State Government is using irrigation water of Narmada to fulfill industrial requirement.

Patkar, who is a petitioner in Narmada Valley canal project, claimed that the water is brought from Narmada into River Kshipra for industrial purposes only. She said that the river linking could have been the fifth phase while the first four should have been for Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar canal project.

However, without even completing the first phase of the canal project, the fifth phase of river linking was completed in one year. The reason she quotes for this is the requirement of water for industries under the DMIC project. She even accused that the river linking project has been funded by the industries of DMIC. It is noteworthy that earlier, a double bench of the High Court in response to a Public Interest Litigation had directed the State Government to form a high- level committee to hear objections on river linking project.

The petitioner has alleged that State Government, through Narmada- Kshipra River linking project, is using Narmada water of Omkareshwar reservoir for the purposes beyond the scope of the project. The HC also observed that Govt cannot change the original plan of Okareshwar project without approval from the sanctioning authorities.

Web: http://freepressjournal.in/govt-favouring-industries/#sthash.rMiJJ9oq.dpuf

NHDC unlikely to infuse funds into Maheshwar power project

Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation (NHDC), a subsidiary of MP government and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), is unlikely to chip in any funds into the controversial Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Project.

Union ministry of power is learnt to have asked the NHDC to chip in at least Rs 700 crore in promoter’s equity in the 400 Mw  project.

If highly placed sources are to be believed, two meetings have already taken in this regard in New Delhi. NHDC has been asked to give a reply by 10 February.

“The matter was discussed in NHPC’s board meet,” a highly placed source who has direct knowledge of the development told Business Standard. On any decision in this regard, the source clarified, “Who will invest in an unviable project.”

Top officials of NHDC and other government officials are tight-lipped about the issue. A senior official, however, clarified that only State government and NHPC jointly can decide on the matter. They will also have to consider the big issue of resettlement and rehabilitation. NHDC can take over the project, it would be an easier option, the source said.

Reacting to the probable development, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which has been demanding that the project be dumped, has strongly objected to the move.

“The Union Ministry of Power had already said two years back that power generated through this project would not be less than Rs 11 per unit, if it comes to shape the domestic power tariff from the project would go up to Rs 15-17 per unit, who will buy the costly power? Also the state will have to follow recent Supreme Court ruling in resettlement and rehabilitation, as a result the project cost would escalate by another Rs 1,000 crore. Also, entire debt of the project has been declared NPA (non-performing asset) by Reserve Bank of India. If Union government is taking any such decision it would be wastage of public money,” Alok Agrawal, chief activist Narmada Bachao Andolan told Business Standard.

According to the source, a meeting took place on 13 January and later on 20th January in which NHDC was asked to chip in Rs 700 crore as contribution to the promoter’s equity, which has widened due to cost escalation.

Earlier, BHEL had also been asked to chip in but the ‘Navaratna’ company refused since payment against three machines (40×3 MW turbines) which it had supplied to the project is still pending.

“The cost has now gone up to Rs 5,600-6,000 crore and now there is another fund gap which is why they (Union government) want some public sector undertaking to chip in funds,” the source said adding, “If NHDC refuses they will go to some other PSU.”

Power Finance Corporation is the biggest lender and all lenders have cumulative exposure of Rs 2,200 crore to the project. “There are plans to infuse more funds and give the promoters more time,” the source said.

The 400 MW run-of-the-river project originally came into picture in 1993 when its projected cost was Rs 1,653 crore and power tariff pegged at Rs 2.64 per unit. Later it slipped into controversies and PFC came to extend financial support. A consortium of PFC (Rs 700 crore), HUDCO (Rs 250 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 180 crore), State Bank of India (Rs 200 crore), Life Insurance Corporation of India (Rs 106 crore), IDBI (Rs 30 crore), Dena Bank (Rs 41 crore), Rural Electrification Corporation (Rs 250 crore) and IFCI (Rs 41 crore) was formed to provide loan to the project.

“So far approximately Rs 3,000 crore had been invested in the project but nothing has come off it,” Agrawal said.

NHDC has developed two projects – 1,000 Mw Indira Sagar project and 520 Mw Omkareshwar project  – on Narmada river in western Madhya Pradesh in Khandwa district. The Maheshwar power project is a downstream project of Omkareshwar project.

Web: http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/nhdc-unlikely-to-infuse-funds-into-maheshwar-power-project-114013100676_1.html

The streak of violence that splits India

For years, I wondered what the great Indian novel would be about. Would it be about the family, its love and sacrifice, would it be a development story or a battle against development as in the great struggles against the Narmada Dam or would it be about sexual liberation or a parallel narrative about the great Indian diaspora? More and more I think the great Indian novel would be an epic of violence. Narratives of violence are creeping into the Indian imagination so that violence is a growing thesaurus of expressions including incest, rape, torture, terror, displacement. Very soon social scientists will have to produce year books of violence similar to year books of environment or international relations.
One has to begin by exploding favourite assumptions of Indians and the Indian nation-state, that we are a peaceful nation-state, that we are a peaceful people; that our nation-state emerged from a peaceful struggle. Gandhi is presented as a sample of our peace-loving genes. But if the Indian nation has a creation myth, it is Partition and the Bengal famine — two great acts of genocide that helped shape the character and content of our nation-state.
Conceived in violence; both nation-state and society have been stunningly innovative affairs. Statistics do not bleed but statistics can reveal the depths of our violence. Consider the following litany of numbers.
Dams and related projects have displaced over 40 million people, many of whom have been displaced twice from their homes. Next to dams, riots have become the second biggest cause of displacement. Today, India has displaced over 10 million people. Agricultural suicides in the last decades have claimed roughly 200,000 lives. Sexual trafficking is a major industry and child trafficking involves about three million people. Indian attitudes to fetuses has claimed over a million lives and promises to increase exponentially. India rates of incest are so high that government does not care to release the statistics.
India violates the human body. It is the centre of surrogacy where wombs are rented out. Add to it a simple fact that over 125 of our legislators in Uttar Pradesh are or have been accused of rape or murder. To cap it all, India has over one million troops for maintaining internal order.
One wishes the census of violence could stop here. I think beyond the number as census, one must catalogue the stages in the changing quality of violence. Imagine one began in the early ’50s with two forms of genocide haunting our imagination. The early decades saw the Ginjams revolts but violence in a systematic institutionalised form started crystallising in the ’60s and ’70s.
Naxalbari ranks as one of the first transitions reflecting not a revolt of people but use of systematic terror and torture against our own people. The Emergency consolidated and banalised violence by using development projects like city planning and family planning as forms of violence. The Emergency hybridised the criminalisation of the state to de-institutionalise our banks, courts, universities and our trade unions. The Emergency has quietly continued in quieter forms throughout fragments of India. The Bhagalpur blinding has entered the folklore of violence but never quite made it to the archives of violence in India. 1984 added to other forms of violence, adding to its diversity and “systematicity”. Violence was proving less and less spontaneous. 1984 was the first time the state committed an act of genocide against its people. What ’84 began, Gujarat in 2002 consolidated.
Bhopal was the first industrial disaster of major proportions. In both riot and disaster, the period of the aftermath saw indifference developed as a fine art of violence. Bhopal and Gujarat were both ironies of justice. Union Carbide, now a defunct company, obtained a waiver from criminal responsibility and the guilty, especially the powerful ones, have rarely been bought to book. In Gujarat, Maya Kodnani, the former MLA convicted for being complicit in riots, is a morsel sacrificed to silence protest.
Gujarat was systematic in terms of violence. The systematic use of chemicals, the use of computer print outs to track people, the use of mobile phones to coordinate violence proved that Gujarat was not a reactive, spontaneous affair as claimed by L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi.
By this time the displacements at Narmada almost become a redundancy. What made Narmada particularly poignant was the recent protest by villagers who immersed themselves in water to force attention on their sufferings that we have forgotten.
In fact more puzzling than violence is the indifference and erasure that follows it. Whether it is a caste atrocity, a gangrape or a dam displacement, we drown our mega-acts of violence, even genocide, with silence. It is this which makes one wonder how long is India going to be a decent society. Sadly our development models encourage the same sense of abandonment of minorities and marginal. Words like development, growth are bugle calls to abandon the tribe and craft to the dustbin of history.
Given this indifference, terror becomes the final stroke. Terror is a form of violence indifferent to its victims. It summons attention without demanding justice. Terror is indifferent to the biography of victims. It is the most meaningless form of violence, completing the nihilism of the nature of violence.
Faced with such a census of violence, the sociologist realises that all that is left to fight is a sense of memory, a feeling of decency accompanied by what we call the rudiments of the rule of law. Indian democracy faces violence within and without. We have been silent about Afghanistan, calculated about Myanmar. Talking security we remain indifferent to peace and rights.
I am listing all this because it is time society takes a stand, forces itself to remember and become story teller. Between an ethics of memory, a ritual of storytelling and an appeal to dignity, we may be able to return the rudiments of democratic life to these areas. Violence, we have to realise, is the real abrogation of the integrity of citizenship.

The writer is a social science nomad


Modiji will you answer these ? Against the false claims and campaigns, you owe this to the Narmada valley

For Immediate Release                                         21st November, 2013                                                                                                                                                                  

        Modiji will you answer these ?

Against the false claims and campaigns, you owe this to the Narmada valley

While the election campaign is heated up in Madhya Pradesh and promises are showered upon the voters, Mr. Narendra Modi is to visit the Narmada valley once again, this time right at the heart of the Narmada movement, raising questions over injustice and illegalities infesting the Sardar Sarovar Project. It is known to everyone that lakhs of people; adivasis, farmers, fish workers, and others in Badwani, Dhar, Khargone and Alirajpur are not just voters, but sufferers of the Dam which Modi himself and his government is pushing to its completion,, without any concern for the utter violation of law and justice. It remains to be seen and watched as to what statements he makes at Badwani tomorrow and what questions he answers!!

The controversial statement Mr. Modi made in his populous rally in Bhopal last month is obviously challengeable. He claimed that Madhya Pradesh is to get 800 MW of free power from Sardar Sarovar, which is getting ‘lost’, due to non-completion of the Dam  to its final height! This being an utterly false statement that was made by the ‘aspiring-PM’, and was repeated in his press conference at Bhopal, he may not hesitate to repeat this lie during his public meeting at Badwani tomorrow. Voters from a few hundred villagers and densely populated region of Nimad will surely judge him on this and expect him to answer the following questions:

1.      Does Mr. Modi know that Sardar Sarovar is NOT Gujarat’s project alone, but is an inter-state project ?

2.      Is Mr. Modi not aware of the fact that Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have to meet 57% and 27% of the Project’s capital cost on power generation and are not to get any power ‘free’ or by charity?

3.      Is Mr. Modi not aware that Madhya Pradesh has already invested Rs. 2065 crores out of about Rs. 5,000 crores that is, at present, the share of M.P. (capital cost for power) and raised a dispute over Rs. 1,500 crores, as the state is not agreeing to Gujarat’s pressure to pay interest on the borrowing amount?

4.      What happened to his promise (from Anjad in 2005) of lighting up the whole of M.P, if the dam is permitted to be raised by 9 mts. The dam height was raised, but there has been no real diwali for the farmers of the valley since then.

5.      Does he know that Madhya Pradesh – not the CM or the government- but the farmers – adivasis, Mankars, others farmers, fish workers (water melon cultivators) potters etc. arelosing 20,800 + hecatres of land, including prime agricultural and horticultural land and forests ?

6.      Does he know and realize the huge impact of impoverishment, never compensatable on the Nimad region, with agricultural prosperity, to be caused by such massive submergence?

7.      Can he assert from the dais in Badwani that rehabilitation is complete, in full compliance with the law, including the Narmada Tribunal Award, state rehabilitation policy and judgemnts of the Supreme Court?

8.      Can he prove that all affected farmers have obtained not just paper pattas, but actual possession of alternative cultivable and irrigable land as due legal entitlement, when thousands are still deprived of the same?

9.      Does Mr. Modi know that thousands of adivasis in the hilly region of M.P., as well as in Maharashtra and Gujarat itself, whose lands have been submerged since 1994 (and since 2000 even in some plain villages) but not yet rehabilitated, have been facing illegal losses, annually ?

10. If he is only briefed properly by the authorities and his own party, who have not even cared to visit the affected villages after the devastation, how can he know the destruction of thousands and more houses, thousands of acres of farm lands, with standing crop, due to dam-induced floods, not natural.

11. Does Mr. Modi have any sensitivity towards these and lakhs of families who have a sword of brutal eviction and submergence looming large over their lives ? Does he believe in thefalse figure of ‘0’ balance families to be rehabilitated, while 2.5 lakh people live in the submergence zone as on date? Does not Mr. Modi, who went all the way upto Uttarakhand, have any sensitivity for these lakhs of people, in his adjacent state?

12. What does he know about the use and misuse of Rs. 1900 crores rehabilitation funds for M.P. and the massive corruption with upto 2000+ fake registries, CAG Reports on corruption in the construction works at resettlement sites, leading to dismissal of 27 officials at Badwani ?

13. Neither Shivraj Singh nor Modi utter a word about corruption in Narmada rehabilitation, canal construction and compensation disbursement?   Why? Can he and will he (Modi) still facilitate Shivraj for the ‘good job’ in rehabilitation?

14. Mr. Modi takes pride in spending Rs. 2,500 crores on the statue of farmers leader Sardar Patel, which is more than the amount for rehabilitation of 245 villages and one township affected by Sardar Sarovar ? Is such tourism just and justifiable?

15. How will Mr. Modi justify the imposed sacrifice on the prosperous region of Nimad, taking over 150 kms of Narmada and yet not give Kutch and Saurashtra their due, compelling them to go to the Supreme Court and return empty handed !

16. How and why is Modi de-notifying 4 lakh hecatres of the Sardar Sarovar command area land for corporates? And how can he explain the huge cost escalation of Sardar Sarovar, which has changed the cost-benefit ratio ?

17. Even after a cost of 70,000 crores and Rs. 5700+ crores received from the Govt. of India, for canal construction, why has Mr. Modi’s Govt. not completed the canal work Gujarat beyond 30% and how can he justify filling up the reservoir further and drowning dozens of villages, when existing waters are not being used?

18. Mr. Modi must certainly be aware of the huge illegal sand mining in the Sardar Sarovar affected villages, destroying the shelf life of the reservoir itself? Why is he silent on this?

With all this and much more, when Modiji is insisting in the dam height to be raised, will he and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh take the responsibility for the fate and future of 2.5 lakh people by drowning houses of 45,000 houses and families, temples and mosques, schools and dispensaries, shops and panchayats, and millions of trees, proving all compliance reports to be utterly false. Please, Mr. Modi we would like to hear your candid answers to each of these queries, as we are not to stop you from your speech, not are to do policing, as you do against us, inflict violence against adivasis to activists. Please do not run away from his reality to a dreamy world of empty political promises.

Saavabehan                 Devram Kanera                      Kailash Awasya          Medha Patkar

Madubhai                    Bhagiram                                Vidyabai                     Kailash Harla

Iqbalbhai                     Hiradaram                              Mustakim Chacha

Tribals say not happy with govt assurance

A day after the government assurance that demands made by tribals living in villages near the proposed Statue of Unity will be met, the protesters said that the “verbal” assurance given by Tribal Welfare Minister Ganpat Vasava was not enough to persuade them away from the issue. Continue reading

Gujarat farmers set to lose water from the Narmada canal network

(This Down to Earth report confirms what NBA was stressing since long that water will never reach to Kutch and used by farmers but will be diverted for industrial uses alone. – NBA) Continue reading


Narmada : 25 Years of Struggle & Reconstruction

NARMADA has been a witness to the 25 years long struggle by the communities reared in its laps over generations in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Supported by a large number of individuals and groups across the country, their non-violent and perseverant struggle together grew into Narmada Bachao Andolan. Adivasis in the mountain ranges of Satpuda and Vindhyas, farmers, labourers, fish-workers and potters in the plains of Nimad have stayed put and challenged Sardar Sarovar (SSP), other large dams and massive canals, destroying prime agricultural land, large tracks of forests, rich horticulture and hilly as well as densely populated habitats. The saga that began in 1985 has completed 25 years of the battle which tried to question, not only large dams but lop-sided development, displacement and disparity growing with the presently imposed growth-centric paradigm of development.
Our sangharsh (struggle) through questioning displacement, assertion of land and forest rights, right to fisheries, right to food and health, livelihood security, exposure of corruption and navnirman (reconstruction) through the Jeevanshalas (life schools), micro-hydel projects, and solar projects, with the help of our support groups has continued and progressed through various phases and strategies. Over these years, we have driven away the World Bank and many other international financiers from the valley by 1993, with the help of our global supporters and compelled the governments to rehabilitate thousands of adivasis with land, yet the task is far from complete and the struggle must continue. NBA has also contributed to the building of progressive alliances, especially the National Alliance of People’s Movements.
Much water has flown through Narmada in spite of many dams being built at enormous human, social and environmental costs, but the over-estimated benefits remain unattained and the mockery of rehabilitation, replete with crores of rupees worth corruption stands exposed. The undemocratic State using the ‘divide and rule’ policy, fraudulent nexus of officials-agents, money and market continues to push the destruction, violate laws, manipulate the processes of sanctioning and monitoring, yet the Dam remains stalled at 122 mts and the people continue in the movement mode, taking up challenges through battles in the field as well as courts, from local to Supreme, and surviving the continued betrayal over two decades and more by various governments.
The struggle in SSP is now linked with the assertion of rights by adivasis affected by the Jobat dam in M.P. People in many canal-affected villages across Nimad are also questioning the unjust acquisition of irrigated lands for the canals and serious environmental impacts. The serious violations of environmental laws have been exposed by the Andolan and the MoEF’s Expert Committee has also strongly indicted the state governments for gross non-compliance. Lack of political will, however, keeps the Projects alive. The people are also not relenting, and are challenging the impacts of the various large dams in the valley and 25 years of Struggle and Reconstruction in Narmada Valley October 22nd — 23rd, 2010 Dhadgaon (Mah) and Badwani (M.P.)
the struggle for justice is only intensifying.
We, the Adivasis, farmers and others, with activists and all our supporters have to come together and look back and look forward at this juncture of completion of 25 years. It can’t be a mere celebration when the sword is still hanging, full justice is still to be achieved, large dams are still being pushed and challenged. We can’t even get over our grief since Ashish, Sanjay, Shobha and other colleagues have left us, forever. Yet, we have to take the torch forward … which was lit by them, carried by thousands and thousands of people across the country and beyond borders.
People in the Narmada valley would like to come together with you all who have joined us on the long path during last 25 years at some point during our actions, testing times, crises and victories. All those who worked with us, stood by us, spread the message and extended support are invited to the valley on the occasion of ‘Reflections from Narmada : 25 Years and Beyond’.