Severe Environmental Impacts, Massive Sea Water Ingress, till 40 Kms in Bharuch, Gujarat

Lakhs of People in Sardar Sarovar Downstream Affected by Drought and Flood 

June 10, 2016 :  Several Newspapers in Gujarat have reported about the Arabian Sea ingress up to 40 Kms and depleting width of the river Narmada near Bharuch city, exposing the severe environmental impacts of a series of dams built upstream. This clearly indicates the serious impact of Sardar Sarovar in Gujarat on to agricultural land, famers, fish workers as well as the industries in the Dahej coastal areas. It was always an anticipated and expected impact of building a monstrous dam and stopping the huge water flow of Narmada coming from a distance as long as 1300 Kms. In past, whenever Narmada Bachao Andolan raised the issue of downstream impacts of the SSP and demanded thorough study of environmental impacts and preparation of mitigation plans, as also mentioned in the conditional clearance to Sardar Sarovar project granted in June 1887; the model answer by the Gujarat officials including the technocrats and politicians was that  ‘we have studied those enough, and in any case those impacts would start coming up years later and hence we would take care of, when it happens.

However, it is obvious that the impacts have already begun and taken a serious turn, as indicated from the news and statement coming from Gujarat even before the dam is complete and the gates are closed, since Gujarat has not cared to ensure required environmental flows for the downstream population. With Madhya Pradesh lifting away big chunks of water (172 crore liters / day through just two of its mini links) for its industries Sardar Sarovar and downstream may be left without the estimated water supply. Today itself, the Dam which the C M of Gujarat and P M himself have pushed at all costs, (granting clearance in June 2014, days within coming to power), the sea has begun entering into the river bed of Narmada substantially affecting the farms, the ground water i.e drinking water, irrigation and industrial water. In short the 41 kilo meters between Sardar Sarovar and the estuary at Bharuch is going to be drought affected and drought prone due to the river being stopped with 139 meters height- Sardar Sarovar.

Will the government of Gujarat hear the first ever cry raised by none other but Mr. Ahmed Patel, the political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, for ‘Saving Narmada in Gujarat’?

The downstream population of eight lakh is today facing the drought due to water turning saline and thereby not potable and unusable, affecting the livelihoods and life itself. However, it will not be even two months and the very region will face flood, as they have for several years during monsoon. Such a cycle of drought and flood is to be faced by no other state but Gujarat. While the farmers as well as more than ten thousand families of fish workers would find it difficult to survive and continue to stay in generations old habitats and they would be added to the large mass of project affected families due to the SSP upstream and will have to be categorised as the downstream impacted families. NBA realizing this for long have been including them in the long list of Project affected, which was ridiculed and challenged by the political elites of Gujarat, capitalizing the ignorance of people including the affected population.

Today, mother river Narmada, it is reported, is shrunk to 400 meters instead of 1.5 kilo meters, near Bharuch city, but will someone do anything? For those who are shocked at this, must also learn from the official documents and meeting minutes of the environmental sub groups of Narmada Control Authority which, which have strongly stated that the river would flow within 3 meters width in certain summer months. Hilsa, the rare species of fish, it was reported, may soon disappear, as it can’t be replenished through artificial breeding and regeneration. All this and much more is yet to come. Gujarat can save its people from the impacts even if it is not bothered about submergence without full and fair rehabilitation of 2,50,000 people who continue to live upstream area in the densely populated villages of Madhya Pradesh. For saving the downstream affected families at least, Gujarat and its own leadership at the Centre, must not close the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in order to protect the nature and the people. If the governments, exhibiting political expediency, fail to care then there is no doubt there will be a renewed Narmada Bachao Andolan, once again on the land of Gujarat.

Jikubhai Tadvi                                             Rahul Yadav                                     Medha Patkar



News Paper Reports for References

Save Narmada, Ahmed Patel tells Anandiben

TNN | Jun 2, 2016, 06.43 AM IST

Gandhinagar: Ahmed Patel, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, has written to chief minister Anandiben Patel raising concern over the unavailability of Narmada water in Bharuch-Ankleshwar area. In his letter to Anandiben, Ahmed Patel – who is the political secretary of Congress president Sonia Gandhi – also refers to the shrinking of the Narmada.

“I wish to draw your immediate attention to the rapidly depleting water level in the Narmada River, particularly in the Bharuch region,” Patel writes. “Near Bharuch-Ankleshwar, the width of the river has shrunk from 1.5 km to just 400 metres, a phenomenon not seen in the recent past.”

Patel contends that the drying up of the Narmada has resulted in massive water shortage for farms and industrie

Narmada drying up near Bharuch

TNN | May 4, 2016, 07.36 AM IST

Bharuch: A large number of farmers on the bank of Narmada River on the stretch between Sardar Sarovar Dam and the estuary near Bhadbhut are facing severe issue of salinity ingress. This is mainly because of less release of water from the dam downstream and at the same time water from sea entering the delta region.

The situation could lead to scarcity of potable water in the Bharuch city, besides heavy loss for agriculturists who use water from the river to water the crops on the banks. The industrial units too are facing problems due to the increase in salinity in the ground water. Last month sea water reached 40 km inside the estuary till Angareshwar.

The river near Bharuch city and tourist place Kabirwad has been reduced to a narrow rivulet. Near Bharuch the width of the river has come down from 1.5 km to just mere 400 metres. “The portion of the river used to remain submerged in water even during summers has surfaced,” said Yogesh Pandya, secretary, Safety, Health & Environment Association.

Bharatisinh Parmar, BJP state general secretary and a farmer said, “It is a big concern for all those residing between the dam and the estuary of Narmada. Most of the farmers are dependent on sweet water of Narmada. Government has to do something to preserve the river in the interest of farmers and to retain its importance.”

Joint president of Dahej Industries Association, Sunil Bhatt, said, “The situation is worst for industries as GIDC is drawing water from bore wells at Angareshwar and Nand. Salt water contamination has created critical situation in most of the chemical plants. As a result several units have been forced to curtail their production by 50%. It has become question of survival for industries in Dahej, Vilayat, Bharuch and of entire PCPIR region.”

Veteran social worker Mahendra Gandhi, 74, told TOI, “I have never seen Narmada in such a pathetic condition. I have a strong emotional bond with the river.” Meanwhile, superintendent engineer Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, R G Kanungo, told TOI, “In view of the monsoon, Narmada Control Authority has not allocated water to operate river bed power houses hence the discharge downstream is low. However, as per statutory requirement we are continuously discharging 600 cusecs water downstream so that river does not become dry.”

Over the last one month, the use of water by the farmers from downstream has increased and this could be one of the reasons for low water level near Bharuch, resulting in salinity ingress, added Kanungo. Low water level in the river downstream from Dahej to Garudeshwar has resulted in severe water shortage in Bharuch and Narmada districts.

Next high tide in Arabian Sea is expected on next Friday. A special committee has been formed by the district collector to monitor the situation.

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 24374535 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : |

Facebook :

Twitter : @napmindia


Tags: , , , , ,