Narmada Samachar: 14 May 2001


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Dams, Development

Public least involved in decisions: Medha Patkar ; Times of India - May 7
River valley projects, dams are beneficial ; Radhey Shyam Goel; Times of India - May 11
Distress: A way of life in Kalahandi ; The Hindu - May 13
Poorly conceived irrigation projects, and in many cases inefficient planning
and corruption exacerbates water scarcity in the area according to Pradhan.
He is also concerned that the plans for large dams such as the Thikali Dam
project portend disaster. Already local resistance is building up against
this dam. We heard from men and women who live in the proposed area of
submergence who say that they will die rather than be displaced. As if
lessons in dam building across the country have not been tragic enough,
the Government of Orissa seems to be bent on going ahead with the project.

Contempt case against Prashant Bhushan, Medha Patkar, and Arundhati Roy

Comtempt in question ; V Venkatesan ; Frontine: Volume 18 - Issue 10, May 12 - 25, 2001 - May 13
Lodging FIR? Take a lession ; Times of India - May 11

Water issue

CM dedicates Narmada waters to Junagadh ; Times of India - May 8
Rajkot mayor to meet CM on water crisis ; Times of India - May 11
For a few drops more ; Indian Express - May 11

Other issues

Tehri dam

Bahuguna warns against overflow of Tehri reservoir ; Deccan Herald - May 8

Fraud in the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Project

A NICE fraud? ; India Together
Environmental Support Group (ESG), an environmental group in Bangalore
discovers that the project consortium that was given the contract for
the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project, never existed
in theory.  


Dear All,

As you perhaps know, the Government of India is seeking financial help
from the German Government for the Tehri Project. An NGO in Germany,
Urgewald, which has been helping in putting the facts before possible
donors, has asked Indian NGOs and individuals to send letters to German
Government representatives and others protesting against the assistance.
Listed at the end are the addressess that they have suggested we send
letters to.

Thsi si to request you to please URGENTLY send the required letters on
you own behalf and on the behalf of your organisations, where relevant.
Please also circulate this appeal to others who you feel might be

I am suggesting a set of points that you might consider including in the

1.    Environmental clearance to the Tehri project was denied by the
standing committe of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government
of India, in 1990. Despite this, the project was cleared by the
Government, overruling the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which is
the technical Ministry.

2.    The Government of India, Ministry of Power, subsequently set up
the Hanumantha Rao Committee to look at the environmental and social
aspects of the project and another committee to look at the safety
aspects of the project. Both these committees raised serious concerns
about the project (1996).

3.    The former confirmed that the environmental and social aspects of
the project had not been properly assessed prior to clearance being
given, that the various conditions of clearance had not been complied
with and that the rehabilitation package offered and the action taken
was not satisfactory. They recommended, among other things,  that there
be a proper assessment of some of the environmental impacts and that no
project activity be allowed till this is completed.

4.    The committee on safety also raised serious issues and recommended
that a three dimensional analysis be done to determine the safety of the

5.    Despite these being committees set up by the government
themselves, the recommendations of the committee were ignored and work
continues on the project.

6.    Tehri is situated in the most highly siesmic zone of India and
experts agree that there is a possibility of an earthquake, during the
life of the dam of a magnitude of 8.5 M on the Reichter scale.

7.    If the dam or its surrounding hillsides collapse, over 500,000
people are likely to die almost immediately.  Many top experts within
and outside the country feel that if such an earthquake is to occur, the
dam will collapse.Despite this and despite the recommendations of
various committees, the project continues.

8. Currently, the Government has appointed yet another committee to look
at the project. This was after political pressure had been put by a
constituent of the National Democratic Front, which is the ruling
coalition in India. However, even while this committee is deliberating,
the dam is continuing to be built.

9.    Protests by local people have been brutally suppressed and a large
number of people have been imprisoned for protesting. Sunderlal
Bahuguna, who is one of the leaders of the movement, has also been
arrested and is on hunger fast.

10. Many alternatives to the dam exist and have been repeatedly pointed
out, including the restricting of the dam height and converting it to a
run of the river project. However, the authorities are persisting with
what can turn out to be a hugely disastrous dam.

These are the people who should receive letters:

Gerhard Schroeder
Chancellor of the Republic of Germany
Fax: (49)-30-400002357

Joshka Fischer
Foreign Minister
Fax: (49)-1888-172845

Hans Eichel
Finance Minister
Fax: (49)-30-22424743

Dr. Werner Mueller
Minister of Trade and Technology
Fax: (49)-30-20147030

Dr. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul (she is the only woman)
Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
Fax: (49)-30-25032555

All the Best!
Urgewald e.V.
Von-Galen-Strasse 4
D-48336 Sassenberg
                        Fon: +49 (0)2583 1031
                        Fax: +49 (0)2583 4220