NBA Press Release
  25 December 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

EARTHQUAKE OF 4 INTENSITY ROCKS NARMADA VALLEY
A WARNING AGAIN AGAINST INCREASING SSP HEIGHT

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

The Narmada valley was rocked with yet another earthquake of the intensity of 4 on Richter scale on Wednesday, December 24, 2003. The epicenter lays between the dam site of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and the Toranmal hills in Satpuda ranges, barely 100 kms. From the dam. This is yet another warning for the dam builders as it closely follows another earthquake of the intensity of 4.5 on Richter scale on July 27, 2003, whose epicenter was between the dam and the Dhadgaon in the in Nandurbar district in Maharashtra.

The eminent seismologists have time and again warned about the geologically fault in the Narmada valley. After the earthquake of Kutch in January 2001, Dr. Harsh Gupta, Director of the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) had observed then that the extension of the fault zone in the Narmada-Sone lineament might have been responsible for such catastrophy, which has released 900% more energy than the Latur earthquake. Prof. R.S. Negi of NGRI had sloe linked the Narmada-Sone lineament to that earthquake. Narmada valley has always been a geological unstable area, as was evident by the Jabalpur earthquake (1998) and the previous series of tremors in Khandawa region in 1997-1999.

There is an utmost need that the all the environmental studies, including seismological studies of this dam be completed, and the fresh environmental clearance must be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), and these studies must be subjected to the peer review by the independent experts.

It is necessary that the reservoir level in the dam has to be reduced and there should be no further increase in the dam height. Paradoxically, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is meeting on December 26 (Friday) to decide on increasing the height of the dam from present 100 (+3) meters to 105 or further. MBA has been constantly exposing the poor track record of the rehabilitation of the displaced people by the height increase. About 12,000 families would be affected by the submergence in the next monsoon if the height is increased, without any sort of resettlement. And, the earthquake occurred on the even of the meeting. It is yet another wake-up call. The NBA demands that all the work on the dam should be halted to have an independent review of all aspects of the dam.

Medha Patkar
Sanjay Sangvai