Mumbai / New Delhi, June 12 : Today seems to be critical day for Narmada. When Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has expressed his commitment to take the country forward with his ‘Vision of Inclusive Development’, it is an absolutely obnoxious contrast that the new government has not given us any hearing nor has it taken any time nor made any attempt to know the ground reality, before deciding to go forward with Sardar sarovar Dam construction to its final height.
Sardar Sarovar Dam at its present height itself has 2 lakh people in its affected region, so if the height is raised by installing 17 meters high gates, the densly populated villages in Nimad Madhya Pradesh with houses, farms, shops, temples, mosques, standing crops etc. will face a watery grave. Adivasi villages in the hills in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat habitating hundreds of families are also to be further submergedd. Altogether not less than 2.5 lakh people, farmer, fishworkers, potters, shopkeepers will face a deluge and devastation, without rehabilitation, if the height is raised from 122 meters to 139 meters!
Will NDA Government permit such an injustice to be caused in violation of Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award as well as Supreme Court judgements? Anandiben Patel, CM, Gujarat has announced that today, in the NCA meeting, “verbal permission” will be granted and then the formalities will be completed within a week’s time. She has claimed that no party state has any objection to raising the height. This is obviously neither true nor transparent. None of the concerned new ministers, Uma Bhartiji, Paraksh Javadekarji or Thavarchand Gehlot have looked into all the reports, detailed data as well as the ground level situation. While two of them belong to Madhya Pradesh and one to Maharashtra. Will it be wrong to expect that they, give us a hearing and also assess the reality themselves. Their visit to the valley could go a long way.
How could the government deal with such a grave situation and go ahead just because Mr. Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister. May we remind all the Ministries that they have to first appraise the social and environmental impacts and judge serious non-compliance themselves. The latest news is that Mrs. Patel, CM has reached the dam site in Gujarat as if the decision is already taken….what a political expediency and breach of every principle of democracy and justice.
Medha Patkar, Meera, Nurji Padvi, Kailash Awasya, Bhagirath