NBA Press Release
  24 February 2007
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Large-scale breakages in Indira Sagar dam : Huge threat to public safety and life of lakhs of villagers downstream of dam

Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-233162
Email: nobigdam[at]

NBA files complaint with Union Water Resources Ministry and Central Water Commission, demands GOMP stop impoundment of waters in Indira Sagar in coming monsoon until public safety issue resolved

Even as it has come to light that there have been large-scale breakages in the Indira Sagar dam structure built on the Narmada river in District Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, and that thousands of cubic meters of cement on the "bucket" and "spill-way" portions of the dam have been washed away in the last monsoon, the Narmada Bachao Andolan demands that the Government of Madhya Pradesh take responsibility for the terrible and potentially life-threatening negligence that has caused these breakages, and make a public statement to the people of the State about the causes behind the large-scale breakage of the dam, the extent of damage, and the action taken in this regard by the State Government.

It may be noted that the Indira Sagar Project which will impound 9 Million Acre Feet, or one-thirds of the river Narmada in one single structure, is the country's largest impoundment. The Madhya Pradesh High Court has not permitted the Indira Sagar dam to be filled up to Full Reservoir Level of 262.13 meters for the last two years because of the R&R of thousands of oustees is yet to be completed. However even without the dam being filled to full capacity, the current breakages have taken place, indicating poor quality of dam construction due to negligence and corruption.

It is clear that had the dam been filled to Full Reservoir Level in the monsoon of 2005 or 2006, there was a strong likelihood of its breaking due to poor quality construction, resulting in the submergence and carrying off lakhs of oustees living downstream in innumerable villages and towns of Khandwa, Dewas, Dhar, Khargone, Badwani, Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh, Bharuch and Baroda districts of Gujarat, and Nandurbar and Dhule districts of Maharashtra, as well as the downstream Omkareshwar and Sardar Sarovar dams.

The NBA has filed a complaint in this regard with the Union Ministry of Water Resources and the Central Water Commission. It has demanded an enquiry into the large-scale damages in the dam, and that action should be taken against the officials guilty of negligence, as well as corrective steps regarding dam safety and public safety. The NBA also demands that until the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh does not establish that the present ISP structure is capable of impounding one-thirds of the Narmada, there should be no question of filling the dam beyond 245 meters or up to FRL 262.13 meters in this or the coming monsoons.

Alok Agarwal
Bhagwan Mukati