Narmada Samachar: 26 March 2001
- Man Project in Madhya Pradesh
- Sardar Sarovar Project
- Maheshwar project
- Water Scarcity in Gujarat
- VHP and Tehri Dam
- Dams and quakes
- River Rites - Aparna Sindoor dance
- Feature Article: In the wake of the quake - Himanshu Thakkar
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Man Project in Madhya Pradesh
Contains background, critique, press releases and contact information of important officials associated with the project.
Rights Of Adivasis! Will Anyone In This Country Listen To What The
President Has To Say ;
NBA Press Release - March 25, 2001
Harrasment By The State Administration Continues As More false Charges Have
Been Filed Against Them; The Man Project Affected Adivasis Still Kept
In Jail For The Fourth Day. ;
NBA Press Release - March 24, 2001
Nationwide Condemnation Of The Shameful Act Of The Government Of Arresting
The Adivasis Affected By The Man Project; All The Arrested Adivasis
Fast On The 3rd Day In Jail; Big Dams Like The Man Project Are The
Cause Of Drought. ;
NBA Press Release - March 23, 2001
Asked for rehabilitation but received jail!!!
Day 2: Project affected adivasis still lodged in jail. ;
NBA Press Release - March 22, 2001
Hundreds of Adivasis Affected by the Man Project Capture the Dam Site;
Indefinite Dharna at Dam Site Begins Today ;
NBA Press Release - March 21, 2001
Sardar Sarovar Project
NBA Press ReleasesLifting Narmada Waters Vindicates NBA's Position; Demand Official Statement
on Urban Allocation and Benefits to Kutch and Saurashtra ;
NBA Press Release - March 25, 2001
Eminent Medical Professionals and Health Works of 93 countries write ;
NBA Press Release - March 20, 2001
Press ClippingsWorld health experts urge Narayanan to 'save' affected tribals ; Times of India - March 22
Participants in the first-ever People's Health Assembly, which was held in Bangladesh recently, have written to President K.R. Narayanan to save the tribals who were likely to be displaced because of the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada river. The letter, which has been signed by eminent doctors, health workers and activists from 93 countries, appeals to the President to "save the tribals from death and destitution". ....
Don Gamble interviews Arundhati Roy Hardeep Dhaliwal meets Medha Patkar
AFTER the exit of Ogden Energy of the US and German energy giants Bayernwerke and Vew Energie, the S Kumars Group has now offered to the financial institutions 49 per cent stake in the Rs 2,254-crore Maheshwar Hydel Power Project in Madhya Pradesh. ....
Water Scarcity in Gujarat
.... BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya, who was in the city to celebrate arrival of Narmada waters, told TOINS that despite all political, technical and financial odds, the Keshubhai government was determined to provide Narmada waters to drought prone Saurashtra region. "We had thought that laying the Mahi-Pariej pipeline would solve the problem. But, then the problem of not having water in the Mahi river itself posed a new challenge. Not deterred by this natural limiting factor, the state government decided to lift the Narmada waters directly through pumps and today more than 1,100 cusecs of Narmada water is being pumped daily into Pariej talav, from where it is distributed to many parts of Bhal and Saurashtra regions. This remarkable achievement itself substantiates the state government's will to serve the people in real sense." ....
Narmada water in Gondal town at last ; Indian Express - March 23
Rajkotians caught in conflicting figures of water supply ; Times of India - March 22
.... A statement from the mayor's office said, "The water resources minister has agreed to allocate 45 lakh gallons of water from the Aji-3 project and 17 lakh gallons from the Narmada waters that have reached Gondal. The Narmada waters would be made available from March 31." Any shortfall in the supply from Aji-3 would be met by way of additional supply from the Narmada waters, the statement added. On the other hand, water resources minister Narottam Patel has said that Rajkot would be getting 40 lakh gallons of Narmada waters. ....
Govt fails to supply water by March 15 to Junagadh ; Times of India - March 20
RAJKOT: "Junagadh will definitely get water from the Mahi-Pariej scheme by March 15," state urban development minister and incharge minister for Junagadh Parmanand Khattar had thundered. Even three days after that, there is no sign of water from the scheme. .... In a clever move, the state government has moved swiftly to divert any public ire against it. For this they have announced prematurely that Narmada water would be supplied to Rajkot from the Mahi-Pariej scheme. But what the government has not announced deliberately is the quantum of water that would be made available to Rajkot. ....
VHP and Tehri Dam
Singhal threatens fast against Tehri dam ; The Hindu - March 24
NEW DELHI, MARCH 23. Mr. Ashok Singhal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, has threatened to go on an indefinite fast by the month- end ``in defence of the Ganges'' and ``to protest against the Tehri dam.'' The point being made is that the Government has plans to block the waters of the Bhagirathi to fill the reservoir behind the 270-metre high dam. ``It is the water of the Bhagirathi which gives the Ganges its purity, and not the streams like the Alakananda. And if the Bhagirathi flow is stopped, Ganges will no longer be what it is,'' he said. Swami Chinmayanand, another VHP star who is also a BJP MP, said that ``Mr. Singhal will not be alone when he fasts, many `sadhus' and `sants' (Hindu priests) will join him.'' Mr. Singhal said he brought this ``important matter'' to the notice of the Prime Minister, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and others. He blamed the bureaucracy for taking the decision to block the flow of the Bhagirathi. He stated that work on the dam, ``which will also increase the risk of earthquakes in the region'', has gathered speed over the last three years (which is since the Vajpayee Government was installed at the Centre). He did not want to blame the BJP leadership directly, instead he chose to attack the bureaucracy. Although the VHP has only made a few noises about the Tehri dam earlier, Mr. Singhal claimed that the organisation has not just woken up when the project is nearing completion but had been protesting for the last 15 years. The `dharam sansad' organised by the VHP at the recent Kumbh Mela in Allahabad had also passed a resolution on the subject opposing the Tehri dam.
Singhal threatens indefinite fast over Tehri dam ; Times of India - March 24
VHP threatens indefinite stir over Tehri dam project ; Hindustan Times - March 24
Dams and quakes
River Rites - Aparna Sindoor dance
Choreographed by Aparna Sindhoor Venue : Dance Complex: 536 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (near Central Square "T" Stop), Massachussetts. Time : 8:00 pm Tickets : $10 in advance, $12 at the door Reservations: Call 617-776-7939; or E-mail email@example.com River Rites explores the real life consequences of big dam projects, such as in the Narmada Valley in India, through a unique new style of performance that blends Indian classical dance, folk dance, yoga, world music and narration.
Feature Article: In the wake of the quake - Himanshu Thakkar
Deccan Herald - March 25
In the wake of the devastating quake in Gujarat, it's quite natural that questions about the safety of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and other related projects would arise, as a number of dams in the state have been damaged. The State Government has begun the process of assessing the damage to some 569 large dams in the state, but a report is yet to be made public. As reported, the Aji-4 dam, about 60 km east of Jamnagar, and another one near Moti Chirai in Kutch have already been breached. Buildings and structures like bridges just downstream of the SSP have been critically damaged. SSP authorities were of course quick to claim that no damage has occurred to the dam, but their credibility is so eroded that this statement needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) say that immediately after the quake, dam authorities stopped the movement of people towards the dam site. However, more significant is the fact that in the monsoon of 1994, more than a lakh cubic metre of cement, concrete and hard rock had been washed away from the spillway section of the SSP dam. This was despite the claim that the dam was supposed to be capable of withstanding a flood of 'one in a hundred years magnitude', and the 1994 flood was surely not of that magnitude. And for months after the event, the project authorities kept this damage a secret until the NBA made it public. Various reports of the dam safety panel in this regard have also not been made public, even after repeated requests by critics of the project. Ever since then, there has been substantial leakage from downstream of the dam, which the authorities have not been able to plug. All these raise many unanswered questions on the safety of the dam. The first question mark that the Gujarat quake has put on the safety of the SSP thus would not wash away until there is an independent assessment to show that the dam is indeed unaffected and safe. Another significant question that arises is what is the relation between the quake of January 26 and the known geological fault called the Narmada Sone Lineament, on which the SSP dam is being constructed. A number of experts have raised the issue and pointed to the connections between Narmada Sone Lineament and the Alla Bund Fault that led to the Kutch quake. According to Dr Harsh Gupta, Director National Geo-physical Research Institute, Hyderabad and former Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, ''The extension of the Narmada-Sone Lineament was the causative factor for the recent earthquake. It released 900 per cent more energy than the Latur quake.'' Earlier too when Bhavnagar in Saurashtra was experiencing repeated quakes in August 2000, scientists had said that the Narmada Sone and Cambay faults were connected and both were connected with the Kutch fault. Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, when questioned about this, replied, ''This has been taken care of by grouting at the foundation of the dam''. But that does not really answer the question. The Narmada fault is known to be deep, wide and active. The 1970 earthquake of Bharuch and the 1997 earthquake of Jabalpur are two known major events. Grouting at the dam site cannot really take care of the problems posed by the geological fault. The Sardar Sarovar Dam site itself is known to have experienced increased seismic activity since the reservoir filling started in 1994, but the authorities have refused to make the data recorded on micro seismic activity in the area public. To clear the seismic threat of SSP from the public mind, the government will have to make all such data public. The issue of reservoirs causing earthquake or hastening the frequency of earthquakes in quake-prone zones is well known. Koyna dam is the world's most well known example of dams that can cause seismicity. In fact a number of scientists have been demanding that the seismic map of India be reviewed as areas that were not known to be quake-prone are experiencing seismic activity. The Latur earthquake of 1991 was the most stark example as it occurred in what was earlier thought least earthquake-prone, but there have been a number of other areas that have been experiencing previously unknown levels of seismic activity. Dr Srivastava, seismologist at the India Meteorological Department and Dr M M Gupta, former deputy director of IMD, have demanded such a review recently. In case of SSP itself, the five-member group appointed by the Central Government had said in their report that the seismic aspects of SSP need to be reviewed. The implications of such a review on the SSP and its possible impacts will need to be looked at to decide how safe the SSP really is. Another pertinent question that arises is, even if the SSP dam has been constructed to make it quake proof, is the rim around the dam stable enough to withstand the earthquake of the magnitude that the dam site is likely to experience? For, if the rim around the dam is not strong enough to withstand such a calamity, the cement concrete wall of the dam may stand, but the huge quantity of water behind the dam would flow down, causing unimaginable calamity. It may be notable here that in the recent quake, the damage experienced by a number of dams in Kutch and Saurashtra is precisely of this kind, where the concrete dams may not have been affected, but the earthen links of the concrete structure have been ruptured. The question that SSP authorities need to answer in a credible way is what is the magnitude of the quake that the SSP dam is expected to experience and is the dam rim strong enough to withstand such a quake? Another question related to the issue is that of a disaster management plan: what would happen if the Sardar Sarovar Dam collapses, either due to an earthquake or due to any other cataclysmic reason? And it may be noted here that over a million people are staying in the area downstream from the dam, on the banks of the river and if the disaster of a dam collapse occurs, they would all be affected. The question is have the authorities put in place a disaster management plan for such a contingency? Has the plan, if at all it exists, been made public? For, a disaster management plan wrapped in the folds of an Official Secrets Act, as all other SSP documents are, would only spell greater disaster. The absence of a disaster management plan can only be seen as a major lacunae, and the Gujarat quake should instil a sense of urgency among the SSP authorities and the National Disaster Management Committee set up by the Prime Minister to prepare and make public a disaster management plan. The people on the banks of river in the downstream won't feel safe till this is done. A related question that comes up is what would happen to the buildings in the impact area when SSP experiences a major quake. This is significant, as it is apparent from the latest quake experience that majority of casualties were due to unsafe buildings. The SSP authorities will have to make public the kind of risk the area around the dam faces and what kind of structural and other safety measures need to be taken in the surrounding areas and assure that such measures are implemented. India was at the forefront during the International Environment Conference at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and has accepted the Rio Declaration in toto. The report of the World Commission on Dams, recently released, also states, ''The precautionary approach requires states and water development proponents to exercise caution when information is uncertain, unreliable, or inadequate and when the negative impacts of actions on the environment, human livelihoods, or health are potentially irreversible''. A precautionary approach therefore entails improving the information base, performing risk analysis, establishing precautionary thresholds of unacceptable impacts and risk, and not taking action with severe or irreversible impacts until adequate information is available, or until the risk or irreversibility can be reduced, making outcomes more predictable. The implication of the principle in the case of SSP and its seismicity is clear. The Prime Minister has agreed in the aftermath of the January 26 earthquake that safety of another controversial mega dam under construction, the Tehri Dam, also needs to be reviewed. The Government should do well and order an independent, credible review of the Sardar Sarovar Project so as to answer the questions that Gujarat quake of January 26 raises. And till these questions are answered, it would only be prudent not to fill the SSP reservoir any further.