Narmada Samachar: 9 April 2001

Headlines


All this (and more) news can be accessed via the Press Clippings page at:
     http://www.narmada.org/pressclippings.html
The NBA press releases are accessible at:
     http://www.narmada.org/pressrelease.html

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Killing of Adivasis in MP

On April 3rd, 2001, seven adivasis (tribals) were killed by the Madhya Pradesh Police in Bagli tehsil in Dewas district. Please read the press release by the NBA and a short report by 'Jan Sangarsh Morcha' who visited the area on 7th April. The report shows that the police firing was not an isolated incident. According to the report, "for many days prior to this, scores of forest officials, police and armed teams of the Special Armed Force (SAF) have been attacking the adivasi villages, demolishing the huts, looting and assaulting the people and misbehaving with women." Please write to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister at "cm@mpchiefminister.com" or "cs@vallabh.mp.nic.in". We will also send out a separate action alert on this list.

Narmada Bachao Andolan condemns killing of Adivasis, demands CBI enquiry ;
NBA Press Release - April 6, 2001

Macabre dance of State Atrocities against Adivasis in Dewas, MP ; Report by Jan Sangharsh Morcha - April 8, 2001


Narmada Sangarsh Parikrama

People to join 'Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama' ; The Hindu - April 4, 2001
Farmers in Narmada Valley do not accept removal of Quantitative Restrictions
on agricultural imports, large Kisan Sammelan at Badwani.
Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama Enters 3rd Day
;
NBA Press Release - April 6, 2001

Narmada Sangharsh Parikrama Started with Vigour and Enthusiasm ;
NBA Press Release - April 5, 2001



The Man Front

Digvijay Singh cornered on right to information ; The Hindu - April 6, 2001
...
But when Mr. Singh was asked by Mr. Vinod Raina of the Bhopal-based
Eklavya group why his Government had arrested people who were
protesting against the Man Dam and kept them in jail for 14 days,
just because they wanted to draw attention to the absence of
adequate rehabilitation, Mr. Singh did not have a satisfactory
answer.  He said the protesters, who belonged to the Narmada Bachao
Andolan (NBA) had not asked for any information. They had broken
the law and therefore were arrested. He said they had been charged
with a bailable offence and were in jail only because they refused
to pay the bail. 
...


Maheshwar Update

NBA apprehends large scale financial irregularities in the Maheshwar
hydro-electric project, asks CAG to investigate. Public funds from
Financial Institutions cannot cross stipulated limits
;
NBA Press Release - April 9, 2001



Water Scarcity in Gujarat

Narmada canal disproves critics ; Yoginder K.Alagh; Indian Express - April 4, 2001
Straddling from its solar plexus, through the heart and lungs of
Gujarat to its head, the Narmada main canal is a beauty. It is an
engineering marvel. You can see it off the great historic cities
of Gujarat -- Champaner, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Patan and on to the North.
A Boeing can land on it.
...
The water the critics said (still say?), will never reach North Gujarat
and Saurashtra, since in large projects in India, 70 per cent of the
water is lost in transport. So there are published calculations (?)
to show that it will dry up by the time the Narmada main canal
reaches the Mahi, for the distance of 144 kms is quite long as far
as existing irrigation canals go. But the Narmada system as I have
been arguing is a break with the past and I should know for
I designed it. For the water that is flowing, I went and collected
the actual measurements of losses, since in the Narmada distribution
system, all operations are measured. 
...
Narmada will open door to Saurashtra's development: CM ; Times of India - April 3, 2001
Narmada waters reach Gujarat villages ; The Hindu - April 2, 2001
BARODA, APRIL 1. The Narmada waters have reached 1,467 villages
and 29 cities of six districts of Gujarat following completion
of work on Mahi pipeline at a cost of Rs. 880 crores, the
Chief Minister, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, has said. The waters were
released to four districts of Saurashtra today while two other
districts started getting it last month. The six districts were
Baroda, Ahmedabad, Amreli, Junagadh, Bhavnagar and Rajkot. 

``Such a permanent solution to the water problem, benefitting
a vast population and a large stretch of land, is unparalleled in
the history of Gujarat,'' Mr. Patel said adding that this would
also prevent large-scale migration. 

The Government has taken up work on the project of supplying the
river water to the districts of Kutch, Jamnagar and Surendranagar,
and is expected to be completed by April-May 2002. With the river
flowing through the Mahi canal-based, Vasavad- godal main pipeline,
the water problem of north Gujarat and Saurashtra is expected to be
solved, he added. 
Narmada waters reach parched Gujarat villages ; Deccan Herald - April 2, 2001


The Tehri Issue

Tehri still under siege ; Hindustan Times - April 8, 2001
THE TEHRI dam project remained suspended on Sunday as protest
by the members of displaced families continued for the tenth day
today. The displaced families are demanding land in place of land
for their rehabilitation. 

These members, led by noted environmentalist Sunder Lal Bahuguna,
have been staging a sit-on the main road leading to the on-going
site of the Tehri project thereby affecting the work. 

Hundreds of women and children staged a demonstration led by
local Congress unit. 

K.K.Agarwal, chief project manager of the construction of
Tehri project said the suspension of the work had been causing
a loss of Rs 1 crore per day. 
VHP adds Tehri reservoir to its propaganda plank ; Deccan Herald - April 7, 2001
Resolve the problem ; Deccan Herald - April 6, 2001
Environmentalist in favour of small dams ; Times of India - April 6, 2001
....
Noted environmentalist and Magsaysay Award winner
Chandi Prasad Bhatt said the natural resources in the
Himalayan region should be used sensibly. "We need
hydro-power and though the rivers flowing through
the Himalayas have a vast power-generating capacity,
but for that we do not need Tehri project or Parbati
project. It is more important to prevent and minimise
environmental degradation. It should be ensured that
we do not add to the risk factors associated with
natural calamities like earthquake, siltation or
landslides. We must learn from the Garhwal earthquake
of October 20, 1991," he said.
....
He said construction of medium and big dams for
irrigation and hydro-electricity generation should not
be allowed in the sensitive inner Himalayas. In these
areas, small projects should be encouraged, which
generate electricity with minimum expenditure and
cause minimum damage to environment.
....
Tehri dam work at standstill ; The Hindu - April 5, 2001


Other News

Basavashree award for Medha Patkar ; Deccan Herald - April 3, 2001
Whose morality? ; Supriya Roy Chowdhury; The Hindu - April 7, 2001

....
There is a certain brazenness about such acts which imply that
corruption is not an issue in the realm of realpolitik. In other
words, it is an accepted and acceptable part of the public domain and
of political practice.
 
It is in this sense therefore that today there is an absence of a
public political platform from which a genuine critique of and an
attack on corruption can be mounted. Every public statement of moral
indignation appears as a case of the pot calling the kettle black. It
is as simple as that. But the roots of this malaise go even
deeper. Possibly the most alarming aspect of the latest corruption
scandal is that it has generated hardly any response from civil
society. There have been very little of citizens' meetings, forums,
signature campaigns, or any other manifestations of citizens'
protest. It is hardly possible that there isn't a critical public, or
that it doesn't care, or that it cares more about cricket than about
corruption. A more real and worrying possibility is that a cynical
public has little faith that corrupt politicians or administrators
would be brought to book. Such a public therefore goes about its
business, its cynicism deepened by each such expose.

Public ethics is not something that can come into being or exist in a
vacuum. It is a guide to action that is necessarily rooted in a
society's institutions and broader value structure. It is the
institutional and value structure that is supposed to mediate the
continuous tension between individual self-interests and the public
good.

Wherein, then, is the source of our collective morality? What marks
our society now is a deep divide between the so-called political
class, and - one hesitates to use a much misused term - civil
society. While a deep cynicism about politics and politicians pervades
all classes of society, nevertheless it is from civil society that the
most powerful sources of critique, change, and transformational energy
are emerging today. Whether, as in the case of a Narmada Bachao
Andolan, it is a question of challenging the state's concept of
development, or the quiet struggle for social justice personified in
an Aruna Roy, a message of renewal is embodied in many such examples
of social praxis. There is of course a certain danger that one may
romanticise the concept of civil society and its possible role in
collective life. At the present time there is no bridge between the
structure of realpolitik and the world of visions pursued in many
unnamed corners of the societal universe, visions that are fragile and
powerful at the same time. But ultimately, the question of public
ethics must take root from the ethics embodied in such visions and
pursuits, and then move upwards from there. Public ethics cannot
emanate from a self-serving and over-stretched state system which
feeds upon itself.
....


New addition to website

Large dams on the Narmada River ;
This page has a very short history of the Narmada Valley Development Plan
and has links to pages with more information about some large dams on the
river (besides the well-known Sardar Sarovar and Maheshar Dams).


New course at Stanford

Developmental Conflcits in South Asia: People Rivers and Large Dams ;
This is an introductory class that aims to critically examine the arguments
for and against large dams, through a combination of lectures, documentaries
and discussions.  It is in the form of a series of lectures given by
different speakers (including economists, engineers, public policy experts,
sociologists and representatives of funding agencies and environmental groups)
who will address different facets of this debate in the context of diverse
global developmental issues.