Staff Reporter, Cybernoon, Bombay, September 18, 2006
Presently, the Sardar Sarovar Dam stands at the height of 119 meters, submerging more than 100 villages. The Gujarat government will soon be increasing the height of the wave to 122 meters, putting thousands of labourers, farmers, fisherfolk and their families under the threat of submergence. Adivasi communities in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, and Jhabua, Manibeli, Badwani and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh were some of the worst affected this monsoon. Gujarat, which witnessed the worst floods in the country this year, saw the Sardar Sarovar filling upto 119 meters and gulping up villages, causing massive devastation.
The Sardar Sarovar Dam’s height was illegally raised from 110.64 to 119 meters, before this year’s monsoon season, due to which the water levels reached up to 150 kilometers upstream of the wall of the dam.
Earlier this month, the project affected families from 33 villages in Maharashtra, demanded that the government should fulfill their basic requirements and withdraw its (Maharashtra government’s) claim of completion of the resettlement and rehabilitation task.
The project affected people still continue to live in original villages as the authorities failed to resettle them. This monsoon has drowned the shelters of more than 250 families in valley, in Maharashtra alone.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan claim that though this monsoon had abnormal incessant rains enough to cause flooding it is the dams that have contributed to the floods everywhere. Dams have worsened the floods.
Apart from Narmada there were many other rivers that witnessed flooding, causing vast devastation of population and property both in urban and rural areas of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.’
“The Action Taken Reports (ATR) claimed that no families are staying in Narmada valley. The various committees set up by the government, surveyed Akrani and Akkalkua districts of Maharashtra and claimed that 1172 families still remained in the valley as they are not provided with alternate shelters and means of livelihood. All the reports are manipulated before submitting to the Centre and Courts,” said Rohan Joshi, an NBA activist. He further added, “The Supreme Court order says that before the height of the dam is increased the rehabilitation task has to be completed a year before, the task which simply seems impossible. It is a pity that the orders of the SC are violated time and again.”
When asked about the rehabilitation state in the valley, Minister of Rehabilitation and Cooperation, Patangrao Kadam commented, “The government will see to it that the rehabilitation takes place, before any further new development on the height of Sardar
In this centenary year of the Satyagraha Movement, the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists and the tribals embarked on a Satyagraha on August 5th, 2006 and posed a question on the government’s spending of additional 20,000 crores of rupees for raising the height of Sardar Sarovar dam beyond 119 meters, victimizing another lakhs of people.