NBA Press Release
  05 September 2004
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Without Fanfare & Suppressing News, Sardar Sarovar Project Secretively Generates Only 20 MWs!

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

The Cost of Failure is Borne by PAFs & State Governments, both.

Investors Wooed & Bluffed! New Bonds Amongst Financial Crisis.

After much hype about Sardar Sarovar generating power to illuminate the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as claimed during the election campaign (to solve the power crisis of India!) and after having submerged about 1500 to 2000 hectares of agricultural crop land with more than 150-200 houses in at least 50 Adivasi villages, the dam has failed to generate minimum electricity promised to the states and its people by Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd & Gujarat.

The estimates of power generation at 110 meters, publicly declared, varied from 80MWs to 370MWs of power. The official documents such as one furnished to the Government of Maharashtra by Gujarat, how ever, could indicate that at 110mts dam height, only one of the five turbines at the Canal Head Power House could function & generate not more than 30 to 40MWs of power, that too only in good season i.e. when adequate water is available in the river, in monsoon.

Amidst controversy and in spite of the fact that thousands of project affected families residing in the Sardar Sarovar submergence area at the present height (full height being 138.68mts) remain to be rehabilitated since everything including updating records, enlisting , recognizing all the affected families, assessing required agricultural land for rehabilitation has fallen back.

The dam height was still pushed to 110mts in March 2004. Now that the adivasis are damned, the benefits at their cost are also proved to be overestimated & more or less failed. The Main canal of the dam, huge like a river, got breached in Vadodara district on 3rd August 2004, the very first day of high flood, when Gujarat newspapers were releasing pictures of the overflowing dam as a beautiful site for the tourists. The incidence was followed by another one in Mehsana district within a few days both together affected fields & houses in 28 villages. The main result is that no water can flow into the main canal and straight into the canal head power house till date. It^s only through the bypass tunnel that some water is being passed since last few days through just one of the five turbines and against the capacity of 50 MWs, only 20 MWs power is generated. The water released into unlined rivulet has destroyed crop in the fields of the adivasis affected by the canal and project colony. Worse still, this situation is not likely to improve this year since, by the time the canal is repaired and whole of the long canal is verified for strength & security, the season of water storage will be over.

Thus Madhya Pradesh, as against the deliberately confusing & twisted news issued by the Narmada Valley Development Authority, is not likely to get more than 10MWs of power. The state has already drained Rs.1600 Crores and the balance till the final stage of the project will not be less than Rs.7000Crores.The Narmada Valley Development Authority^s statement again hides the financial crisis the project faces and the high cost - low reward situation that Madhya Pradesh as well as Maharashtra are going to face.

It is by now an established fact that in the end, Sardar Sarovar Project will cost not less than Rs.40000 Crores. At least 25000 crores balance expense includes 8000 crores interest on the irrational borrowing, criticized by the Comptroller of Auditor General in its latest report of August 2004.The CAG report also brings out the fact that the cost escalated from Rs.6406 crores, approved in October 1988, is not approved by the Planning Commission as yet.

Gujarat, rather the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, is trying hard to get Rs11000 crores from the Centre while the Union Government has the vast experience of it^s Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Program (AIBP) under which SSP also received about Rs.3000 crores in 1996-97.The irrigation potential expected to be created out of that assistance from SSP was 1, 41,000 hectares while only 26,831 hectares was actually achieved. Under AIBP, Rs.13000 crores were spent on various irrigation projects in 21 states the utilizable irrigation capacity created was 11% of the estimated and expected, thus showing the performance failure. Even today 380 major & medium projects in the country have a spill over (since pre- 1Vth Five Year Plan) that is to cost Rs.90, 000 crores.

In Sardar Sarovar too, what will M.P, Maharashtra and also Gujarat lose and how much will country as a whole pay to gain what and when, remains to be seen. There is, however, no doubt that the Sardar Sarovar, with uncertain benefits and undue costs, is fast proving to be another financially unviable, socially unjustifiable project.

Not only the affected people but all the concerned citizens must look into this grave situation faced by this gigantic project and at the cost of the people in the Narmada valley, before it's too late.

Philip Matthew
Ashish Mandloi
Medha Patkar