NBA Press Release
  07 August 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Unprecedented Disaster in the Narmada Valley as Sardar Sarovar overflows
at 113 meters.

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464

Hundreds of adivasi families in the Narmada valley are facing illegal and unprecedented submergence as waters in the Sardar Sarovar Dam Reservoir has risen from less than 100 meters to 113 meters in just under four days.

The sudden rise of waters is not only due to the heavy rainfall in the upstream areas but also, and more specifically, due to the stoppage of release of water in the Narmada Main Canal from August 3rd onwards because of the major breakage of the Canal wall near Bhorda village in Pavi Jetpur Taluka. It is from this date that water level in the reservoir went up so fast. By 6th early morning water was flowing over the dam (110m now).

Adivasi families in Gujarat (Narmada district), Maharashtra (Nandurbar district) and Madhya Pradesh (Jhabua district) states are pushed to the brim, as there is little space to move up the hills or no cultivable and irrigable land provided for rehabilitation with proper developed Rehabilitation sites. Among those who are affected now, more than half of the people are not yet declared in spite belonging to the valley civilization for centuries together.

In Alirajpur taluka of Madhya Pradesh, the submergence has caused havoc in 17 villages. While most of the standing crops of Corn, Jowar and vegetables in Jalsindhi, Anjanwara, Bada Amba, Bhitada, Jhandana, Kakrana, Toorkheda, Sugat has been destroyed.

In Maharashtra, the devastating submergence has flooded many houses in Manibeli, 19 houses in Chimalkhedi, 3 houses in Dhankhedi and 11 houses in Bilgaon as per the latest news. The bubbling Jeevanshalas of Bharad, Nimgaon, Manibeli are no more while water is just about to enter the school in Badal, when reports last came in. While Maharashtra government claim to have resettled Nimgaon and Domkhedi PAFs in Vadchil, more than two third of the villagers are undeclared and still living in the different hamlets of these villages.

All this disaster is happening while PAFs representing Akrani and Akkalkuva talukas of Maharashtra are sitting on Dharna in Shahada demanding rightful rehabilitation, which should have happened years ago.

In Gujarat, 5 houses in Mokhadi have submerged while nearly 100 families still live in the upper hamlets facing danger. Their issue of allotment of good lands in command area of the dam is not yet solved. 7 families living in Vadgam are now marooned while nearly 60 families in Gadher have moved up the hills. The news is yet to come from the other villages in Gujarat. Hundreds of undeclared families still live in the Gujarat original villages while many have gone back due to unlivable situation in the resettlement sites. According to Sardar Sarovar Rehabilitation Agency, no one is living in the original villages who deserves rehabilitation!

Disaster due to the Narmada Main Canal

On 4th August, the main canal has broken at two places, caving in nearly 50 meters near Bhorda and Motiauni villages in Pav Jetpur Taluka due to pressure from the floodwaters from Heran river. The floodwaters, which is designed to flow under the canal to the western side, started impounding on the eastern side due to silt blockage in the passage under the canal. It submerged flourishing villages like Bhorda, Motauni, Rajbodeli, Moradongri, Chundheli, Panej causing loss of crores of rupees due to destruction of standing crops of cotton, maize and paddy while destroying many houses.

Philip Mathew