Even as the state government tries to defend the Narmada dam at different forums, the anti-Narmada brigade manages to get its message across. The latest is the World Water Forum meet in the Hague, where Narmada minister Jaynarayan Vyas claimed he scored a
victory of sorts.
But now the Narmada Bachao Andolan claims the crown. NBA activist M.K. Sukumar said, “All the claims made by the Narmada minister is of political importance to his party. He said we have succeeded in highlighting our stand at the forum in the Netherlands,
and our stand was supported by the Madhya Pradesh chief minister.”
Some environmental activists believe the issue is being stretched too far and the NBA thrives on this. “We do not know whether their concern for the affected people is real,” one of the said.
Since the government of Gujarat has always been on the defensive, it has failed in attacking the Anti-Narmada forces, says Opposition leader Amarsinh Chaudhary. “This is the first time the state government delegation was present at any international forum,
where it tried to protect the state’s interest. In the past, the state government was not serious about it. Now the government has understood that instead of taking backseat, counter-attacking could be the best strategy.”
“We should have been a bit more prepared to stop the anti-Narmada forces from having a field day at different fora,” Mr Chaudhary said.
Environmental activists Lav Kumar Khacchar puts it in a different way. He says in attacking the Anti-Narmada forces, the state government has committed several mistakes in the past, which have led people to believe that nothing has been done on the
He said the government would have done its job in the Supreme Court also. He said Narmada, supposed to be the lifeline of Gujarat, must be developed as it can fulfil the needs of the masses.