Narmada Samachar: 12 March 2001
- Water Scarcity in Gujarat
- Earthquakes and dams
- Other News
- Feature Article: Take a more constructive approach - Tirtho Banerjee
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Water Scarcity in Gujarat
Areas facing water problem to get Narmada water: CM ; Times of India - March 8
AMC promises water twice a day ; Indian Express - March 6
Ahmedabad to get Narmada water from March 13 ; Times of India - March 9
GANDHINAGAR: Ahmedabad would start getting Narmada water via the Raska wier from March 13. Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel told a post-Cabinet news conference that, with this, "the current cut, in force for the past several months in Ahmedabad city, would come to an end". If the city has been getting 50 million gallons per day (MGD) of water till now, the total supply would go up to 85 MGD March 13 onwards. The CM also announced that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, too, would start getting drinking water from Narmada by this weekend. "The canal near Vadodara has already got water. At present, its gates are closed. They would be opened this week to transfer water to Ajwa. This would enable the city to get Narmada water by the weekend," water resources minister Narottam Patel said. Other areas that would benefit from the Narmada water include villages of Bhavnagar, Amreli, Rajkot and Junagadh districts through a network of pipelines already in place in Saurashtra. However, neither did the CM nor the water resources minister clarify how much water these places would get and when. There was a hint that Vadodara, or the above mentioned places, would not need to tighten their belts as thought earlier. Under the original project of Rs 103 crore, scaled down to Rs 43 crore, as many as 54 pipes with a diametre of four metres are being used for pumping out nearly 1,150 to 1,200 cusecs of water and flowing it into the Narmada canal. Another 44 such pipelines would be laid to take water to be pumped out of the Narmada reservoir to 1,500 cusecs. A senior ruling BJP politician alleges that a lot of this water is being taken out of the reservoir and put into the canal by using a small bypass tunnel in "complete violation of the Narmada Control Authority guidelines". A bigger bypass tunnel is being constructed and used for channelling water within a week. "This is for the first time that Gujarat has not complied by the four lateral states' agreement," he said. A top government official, refusing to comment on this for fear of its triggering a major controversy, says, "We are not talking about the bypass tunnel at all, as it is not in Gujarat's interests". He refuses to say how much water the state is getting by the bypass tunnel and how much more it would get in future. The NCA has already rejected the state's request to allow building a bypass tunnel. Narmada water started flowing in the canal on February 27. On February 28, all the four dikes were filled by water from the Narmada reservoir. On March 1, water already reached 145 away, at the Mahi junction canal. On March 7, water filled up Panam Aquaduct. "We have gates at every 12.5 km on the Narmada canal. Only when water reaches about three metres do we open fresh gates", Narottam Patel said. After a long time, the CM gave all the credit for the "good work" done in bringing the Narmada water to his known political opponent, Narottam Patel, a votary of Union textile minister Kashiram Rana. "This has been done in a record time," the CM said, adding, "The work has continued unabated despite the quake crisis."
Earthquakes and dams
69 dams in the region damaged in earthquake ; Times of India - March 6
Sixty-nine dams have been damaged in the quake in the Saurashtra region. The total damage has been placed at Rs 70 crore by officials. Sources in the irrigation department said that while some dams had developed cracks, parapet walls of other dams had been damaged while others needed a fresh coast of plaster. The Rajkot irrigation circle controls 28 dams and the damages have been placed at around Rs 36 crore. This includes the Nyari-2 site where the top portion of the dam, the canal lining and the parapet walls have been damaged. The wireless cabin at the dam site has also been damaged. Dams in Jamnagar and Surendranagar, which also fall under the Rajkot circle, have also been damaged. These include damages of Rs 239 lakh for earthen works, Rs 69 lakh for canal works and Rs 59 lakh for buildings and other items. Damages at dams like Bhadar have been put at Rs 14 lakh, Machhu-1 Rs 18 lakh, Machhu-2 Rs 33 lakh, Und-1 Rs 375 lakh and Brahmni dam Rs 12 lakh. Forty-one minor irrigation dams have also suffered considerable damages. Technical engineers and experts have called for caution and said that these damages have to be rectified at the earliest.
Gujarat may be drawn into a debt trap ; Times of India - March 5
NABARD officials agree not to give additional money to the Man Project if rehabilitation conditions are not met ;
NBA Press Release - March 10
Ranjit Sagar dam oustees yet to get compensation ; Times of India - March 5
JAMMU: Dozens of villagers, who were uprooted when the Rs 3,800-crore Ranjit Sagar dam was built at Thein near Basohli, are yet to be rehabilitated. At least 272 families were provided only Rs 208 per kanal for the land which got submerged in the dam as they used to cultivate government land, according to Congress legislator Lal Singh who represents the Basohli constituency. In contrast, the government paid Rs 18,400 per kanal to hundreds of other farmers who lost their land in the dam, he pointed out. Besides, the number of actual oustees is much higher than 767 families identified as potential oustees initially, he added. This happened because the dam's height was raised substantially mid-way through the project implementation but new oustees were not taken into account. The members of such families have thus not been provided any government jobs (mainly near the dam itself), as was promised earlier, and neither have they been given adequate compensation, Singh alleged. ......
Professor Ramaswamy R Iyer, former Water Resources Secretary of the government of India, devoted all his life to India's civil service. He is also considered as the `spirit and man behind India's Water Resources Policy' introduced in 1987. He was also part of the high-level Hanumanta Rao Committee on Tehri dam (in 1996-1997) and the Sardar Sarobar project (in 1993-1995). Professor Iyer says he his a little bit worried about the idea of building high dams in the Himalayas. "This area is earthquake prone and building a quake-resistant dam could cost enormous," he says. And, on the Nepal-India relations, he says every thing will be all right "if there is one example of good and successful cooperation between the two neighbours. Professor Iyer was here last week to participate in a water management meeting. Surendra Phuyal and Hari Thapa of The Kathmandu Post talked on a wide range of issues pertaining to water resources and development with him. ....
Feature Article: Take a more constructive approach - Tirtho Banerjee
The Telegraph - March 7, 2001
The Sardar Sarovar dam over the Narmada falls in the area of the triple junction of a fault zone. This means it is seismologically sensitive and a geologically disturbed area. Similarly, Sunderlal Bahuguna, the noted environmentalist, avers that if the Tehri dam cracks due to an earthquake, Rishikesh would drown in 63 minutes and 17 minutes later, Hardwar would be inundated. The earthquake in Gujarat has brought to the fore the danger of building large dams in quake-prone zones. Geologists and seismologists believe that both the Narmada and Tehri dams could spell doom if an earthquake above eight on the Richter scale takes place. Besides, both these projects can even induce seismic activity and trigger earthquakes. While calculating the safety of the dams, reservoir induced seismicity must be taken into consideration. RIS gets accelerated by a large mass or body of water. If there is more stored water which seeps down the earth, the possibility of an earthquake increases. In both Tehri and Narmada dams, the RIS factor is high because they are quite huge and the pressure exerted by the weight of water is tremendous. A senior geologist at the National Geo-Physical Research Institute points out that Koyna in Maharashtra is highly RIS prone. The largest known reservoir-induced quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale occured here. There are 12 more sites in India which are vulnerable to reservoir-induced quake. The Jabalpur earthquake in 1998 was RIS related. Handle with care A University of Colorado research has warned that the Tehri dam might release elastic strain energy along the faultline between Nepal and Tibet. This might trigger an earthquake of as high as 8.9 on the Richter scale or four quakes of 8.2 in the time to come. In fact, the Himalayas are earthquake prone and building a 260.5 metre high dam in the mountains defies logic. Earthquake experts underline that stress is building up along the `active faultline' in the Himalayan ranges. Already the Uttarkashi and Chamoli quakes few years back have destroyed parts of the ecology of the region. However, Indian planners are still not heeding the warning signals. The Bhuj and Uttarkashi earthquakes indicate that big dams should not be built in areas ecologically and geologically fragile. The way out is to build small check dams on fast mountain rivers. The strong pro-big dam lobby has to be grounded by the government while weighing the pros and cons of every project. Experts believe that the government should ensure that every dam that is built passes through a screen of several checks and balances that clearly evaluate all types of ecological and social effects likely to be created. And although big dams might generate more energy, they should not be allowed in fragile regions.