Narmada minister Jaynarayan Vyas said it was for the first time that the adverse propaganda and international opinion built against Sardar Sarovar Project by self-acclaimed environmentalists had been effectively countered at the Second World Water Forum by
the Gujarat delegation at the Hague in Netherlands.
Mr Vyas, along with Egypt water resources minister Dr Abu Zaid, has been made a member of Club of Tokyo, an exclusive group of 15 experts that deals in water-related issues. Mr Vyas said this while making an announcement in the House on Friday.
“The interest of Gujarat had been sabotaged by the so-called environmentalists through a systematic campaign against the Narmada in national and international forums. It is for the first time that the sentiments of the water-parched people of the state and
that of the members of the House found an echo at the international forum and the facts about the rehabilitation has been projected by the state government,” Mr Vyas said.
The Gujarat delegation has aggressively countered international view by presenting facts on the World Commission on Dams, Rally for the Valley, Fact Finding Committee and the Karseva.
Mr Vyas said the World Bank had backtracked on the Narmada project due to the aggressive campaign by International River Network, Friends of Earth Society and other environmentalist groups. Mr Vyas said it is difficult to counter such systematic campaigns
and the environmentalists had succeeded to capture the stage in Rio de Janeiro on the previous occasion.
Mr Vyas said around 4,500 delegates from all round the world had participated in the conference besides a large presence of print and electronic media.
The Narmada minister said a 22-minute documentary film End of Thirst, presented by the Gujarat delegation, was well received as against the Narmada Diary by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, which presented five-year old facts. A presentation on water and energy
had also been made for 45 minutes by the delegation. The delegation was up against anti-Narmada elements like Peter Maclee, Medha Patka, Arundhati Roy, Jharna Jhaveri and several anti-Narmada elements present in large numbers at the conference.
Mr Vyas had received an invitation from Nippon Foundation to address the young generation of leaders along with top economist Dr Takahashi (director, International Development Research Institute, Tokyo) and director, Stockholm International Water
Institute, Alef Helin and 12 others.