Modi’s illegal push for Sardar Sarovar anti-farmer and anti-tribal – NBA 

October 31, Indore : Mr. Narendra Modi’s speech at the Sardar Patel Statue, next to Sardar Sarovar Dam in the downstream today was a piece as much of fully false claims as there have always been over the Sardar Sarovar Project. Mr. Modi did not care to speak on Sardar Patel’s heritage and contribution to the freedom and farmers’ movements and this was obvious from the fact that he referred to this day, not as the birth but death anniversary of the Sardar! May one call it a lie or a lapse, it indicates how much important was and is Sardar Patel in Modi’s politics, based on opportunist strategy, illegally pushing the Dam ahead in an utterly filmy and heroic way.

  • Modi made a number of claims related to the Project, however, every one of it is false as is known to those following the history to the present, as also the anticipated future of this Project. First and foremost the claim that rehabilitation of all the affected families is completed and that the Grievance Redressal Authorities in all the three states headed by Retired Judges have given ‘clearance’ is an utter lie, since there are not less than 50,000 families yet to be rehabilitated, as anyone visiting the densely populated village communities, or even the resettlement sites in Maharashtra and M.P can realize.
  • Hundreds of families in Gujarat too are awaiting declaration as ‘oustees’ and allotment or change of allotted land. Without having visited the affected villages in the valley, he would not know about the illegal submergence of thousands of hecatres of land, standing crop and a few thousand houses, and 1,000 crore worth corruption in rehabilitation in his own party led state of Madhya Pradesh, which is under inquiry by a High Court appointed Justice Jha Commission, since 5 years.
  • Will the Gujarat Government have guts to pressurize the UPA Govt. to give ‘clearance’ by law and Supreme Court’s judgements and drowning not less than 2.5 lakh people in their houses, farms and villages, best of agriculture and horticulture, hundreds of temples, mosques, cultural monuments, schools, dispensaries, shops and markets, millions of trees etc. turning the Narmada Valley into another Uttarakhand ?
  • The people from the resettlement sites in Gujarat are more upright and honest, to ask, when they have given ‘lahu’ (blood), why should they give ‘loha’ (steel)? They almost boycotted the statue inauguration function and the reports indicate that free vehicles that were sent to get the villages had to return empty to the programme site! Mr. Modi’s claim that clearance has been granted by the R&R Sub Group (of Narmada Control Authority), which no one else but he and us would understand is also not true, as we are told by the concerned officials of the Central Ministry of Social Justice recently..The Gujarat – M.P. political nexus is no doubt trying to pressurize and cull out such a clearance, which no authority with a legal mandate can subject itself to. If they do, not Mr. Modi, but they would be liable to legal action, for committing an offence, which they very well know. The Centre has, in fact, both a duty and opportunity to initiate a comprehensive cost-benefit review by the Planning Commission and other stakeholders.
  • Modi’s claim for credit, for maximum investment into the Project during his 10 year tenure than any other Govt. is an attempt to conceal the fact that the Central Govt. gave, unfortunately, without the Ministries and Planning Commission playing their monitoring role, under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, maximum assistance to SSP (almost Rs. 5700 crore rupees) between 1996 and 2008, amounting to almost 20% of the total country level release of funds. CAG’s Reports have also brought out diversion of central funds granted for drought prone areas to the canals, which were covered under not one, but different assistance projects, leading to double accounting and false reporting.
  • Mr. Modi boasted of Kutchis weighing him with silver, with a great hope that Kutch would get its share in Narmada waters. However, he did not reveal to the ignorant masses that the Kutchi’s who had to approach the Supreme Court for their rightful share in Narmada waters, which they haven’t got, in spite of the legal battle. Neither Saurashtra nor Rajasthan is satisfied with miniscule of water allocation, not satiating their thirst, but allocated to the industries with primacy. They are indeed being cheated, as the dam is being built in their name, while more than the allocated share of water is diverted to the corporates, along with land in Gujarat.
  • Mr. Modi is actually shedding crocodile tears, while claiming that more water is required for the parched earth, cattle and trees affected by drought in Gujarat and Rajasthan, since his government has de-notified any where upto 4 lakh hectares of the command area land that is excluded from irrigation and reserved for the corporates. Gujarat has also not built minor and sub-minor canal network and field channels beyond 30%, resulting in non-utilization of the available capacity, upto few lakh hecatres. It has, on the other hand, allocated to the industries, a much larger share that what is given for the rural area and townships, while the first preference is given to the non-drought prone cities of Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara. The Chief Ministers’ hollow sympathy to the cattle grazers in Gujarat does not get vindicated when one sees the intense agitation of the grazers community going on in Gujarat.
  • This time, changing his own earlier statement, Mr. Modi claimed that Maharashtra (not M.P. this time) is to get power from Sardar sarovar at a cheaper rate, which would save Rs. 400 crores. This too is untrue since both Maharashtra and M.P. are paying due share of capital investment and unit cost of power as decided by the Central Electricity Regulatory Authority. The tarrif as on date is Rs. 2.10 per unit and is likely to go anywhere upto Rs. 4 per unitWith 30,000 + hectares of land and Narmada river itself being sacrificed with the lives of and livelihoods of lakhs of adivasis, farmers and other oustees, a lie repeated cannot turn into truth.
  • While making a mockery of the legal procedure that everyone including the Modi Govt. is bound to follow, before claiming its right to build the dam from the present 122 mts to the final height of 138.68 mts or even to raise the pillars and erect the gates (17 mts high). Mr. Modi did not show any honesty that was the tradition of all the patriotic politicians he referred to, Sardar Patel, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi, in the same sequence.
  • The facts are dispersed in umpteen number of reports of various official Committees and Commissions that have assessed the Dam Project, concluding violation of conditions in the environmental clearance granted in the 1987, Planning Commission clearance granted in 1988, violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and multiple Judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The ground reality confirms the same and hence, in spite of megalomaniac strategies of the Modi Government, the clearance cannot be granted unless every family is rehabilitated with alternative land or livelihood and every tree is compensated for.
  • Forgetting the adivasis in the 6 villages of Gujarat, whose land were grabbed for the Project and its colony, yet to be rehabilitated, Modi Govt. has tried to push in the Kevadia Area Development Authority, on the lands belonging to 70 villages, around the Dam for the sake of tourism and urbanization. It is the determination of the adivasi Panchayats, following the PESA Act, which his Government violated in toto that seems to have made the Modi Govt. submit or bow down and not bow down, as apparent from the fact that he did not refer to KADA, but rather declared the decision to form a new Tehsil, Garudeshwar, in the district of Narmada.
  • The CM, also announced few sops including water to the tribal areas around the Dam, as speaking orders that are baseless without change in the Plans and necessary clearances. However, by not permitting a peaceful fast by the representatives of adivasi villages, along with senior activists, Rohit Prajapati, Lakhan Musafir, Trupti Shah and others, with the local leaders, the Government has, do doubt, expressed its cowardice even in the face of a peaceful protest.
  • Sardar Patel’, if and when, it will be completed, will look beyond the Dam, as the statue is to be at least 80 metres higher than the Dam. No doubt, Sardar will see the destruction and devastation caused by the Dam and borne by the farmers, whom he loved and organized, against paying the unjust tax, during the British rule. The Project, to be pushed in the name of the farmer leader that could once abolish the princely states, only to benefit the present vote bank politics, supporting the new princely states of the Ambanis and Adanis will no doubt be historic, but not in support of either the destructive SSP or Modi-mode of development.

People of the valley, beyond party lines and truly united beyond caste and religious diversity who have fought the Dam and its destruction for 28 years will challenge the parties and their candidates in the upcoming elections and continue to struggle for their right to life and no unconstitutional push to the Dam, with the statue of Mr. Modi’s dream.

Medha Patkar,   Devram Kanera,   Meera

 Ph: 09423965153 / 09179148973


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