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Friday , June 16 , 2000
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`Reduced dam height not acceptable'

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE


GANDHINAGAR, JUNE 15: Eminent water resources expert C C Patel has contested Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh's statement that Gujarat will get full entitlement for irrigation even if Sardar Sarovar Dam has a reduced height of 436 feet. The minister had also said that a large number of project-affected persons (PAPs) will not be required to shift their homesteads and considerable land will also be saved from submergence.

Reacting to this recently made statement, Patel, who is also former Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam chairman told Express Newsline here on Thursday that the Narmada Tribunal had decided that Sardar Sarovar Dam's height should be +455 feet for irrigation and hydro-power benefits, and no one has the authority to review the Tribunal's decision. Besides, the Tribunal has provided a cushion of 5 feet for flood control, he added.

The Tribunal has pointed out that Madhya Pradesh had not provided its due share of carry-over capacity to ensure that utilisable water would be 28 MAF (million acre feet) so as to meet the share of all the four beneficiary States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Patel said that even in the planning stage, as stated by the Tribunal, Madhya Pradesh had provided less carry-over capacity to the extent of 2.03 MAF. With such shortages, Gujarat would get 1.0 MAF less water, thus reducing irrigation by about 12 per cent, Patel said. Opposing MP Chief Minister's proposal for an out-of-court settlement, the expert said that the proposal was not feasible, since all the four participatory States had already spent a huge amount on the construction of the dam, canal-bed powerhouse and river-bed powerhouse. Moreover, any change made at such an advanced stage of the dam project, will result in infractuous expenditure on power he said.

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