Introduction to this website
SARDAR SAROVAR
THE MAHESHWAR DAM
Links To Press Clippings
Other Resources On The Web
Read the latest NBA Press Releases
Images
Contact Information

Return To The Front Page

for a stretch of several hundred kilometres up the river will be transferred to the SSP reservoir. This could decrease the life-span of the dam.

Studies on the "very high" and "high" erosion-prone areas draining directly into the reservoir are said to have been done. However, at least in the case of Maharashtra, the studies done earlier have proved inadequate, and a revised assessment is still underway. A recent NCA (1993) document contradicts itself on this point: on page 48 it says that survey work, preparation of a detailed map, and micro-watershed development map, are all `complete for all states', while on page 90 it says that the task of "determining the net area of sub-watersheds and thus the total area of CAT required" still needs to be done.

CAT is already underway, though minutes of the NCA Environment sub-group meetings show that both Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh are far behind schedule. Targets and achievements listed show striking discrepancies between figures in various NCA documents. For instance, the targeted figures for 1994 are shown as 10,000 ha. in the June 1993 document while the July 1993 document asserts that 6400 ha. will be treated. In the case of Madhya Pradesh, the NCA document of June 1993 (NCA 1993) states that 17,000 ha. have been "treated to date", while the Environment Sub-group's July 1993 document (ESG 18th Meeting, 1993) gives the corresponding figure at 11,161 ha. nearly 6,000 ha. less than claimed to have been achieved just one month before!

Most worrying is that about 99,000 ha of the area slated for CAT is non-forest land. People are opposing government interference on their fields, and the traditional aggressive methods of the Forest Department are unlikely to prove effective. Additionally, NCA (1993) in fact admits, that "a substantial part of the CAT area is in fact designated forest which has been encroached and used for agriculture by local people. These people are reluctant to allow local forestry officers on to 'their' land until the matter of the legality of their tenure has been resolved." CAT thus has the potential for greatly exacerbating the social impacts of the project. The project authorities seem quite unfazed by this, stating that "work has now commenced in the areas free from dispute and is scheduled to be completed by March 1996." This is a queer twist of logic: if a "substantial part" of the area to be treated is encroached, how can treating only the undisputed part achieve the full CAT target? Either the treatment will get substantially delayed, or it will be over a substantially smaller area than necessary.

A neglected facet of the problem is that reservoir impoundment and displacement of people by SSP will itself lead to negative impacts on the catchment area. Pressures of timber, fuelwood and grazing needs currently being absorbed by the forests and grasslands of the submergence zone will be transferred to the remaining, adjoining forest and common land. For instance, a lot of the timber needs of those on the norther side of the Narmada is met from forests across the river in Maharashtra. Once their access to the forests is cut off by the reservoir, or once the forests in the submergence zone are cut, these tribal people will be forced to exploit the remaining forests on their own side at a much greater rate. Yet another impact on the catchment area may result from the migration of displaced people into

Return to Contents Previous Page Next Page