Hindustan Times, Sep 1 2017, Bhopal: Due to incessant rains for last few days, the water level of Narmada River has crossed the danger mark in the submergence area of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam in the Narmada valley, creating apprehensions among affected people about possible inundation of their homes in the coming days.

With authorities closing the sluice gates of SSP on June 17, the water level is rising in the 214 km stretch upstream of Narmada in correlation with the intensity of the rain in catchment of Narmada river.

Collector Dhar Tejaswi Naik told HT that the danger mark in Narmada at Rajghat was 123.2 metre. “The water level crossed the danger mark on Wednesday afternoon and it is still rising beyond 123.5 metres. We closed the Old Bridge at Rajghat for traffic. We are keeping a tab on the developments and all officials concerned have been alerted. Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also been alerted”, he said.

Naik said given the unpredictability of rain in the catchment area, he appealed to the project affected people who were yet to shift and vacate their houses so that there was no danger to their life or property in the coming days .

The deadline fixed by Supreme Court for SSP affected people to vacate their houses in the submergence area expired on July 31. But a significant number of project affected families in Dhar and Barwani districts are still defiant in the face of imminent submergence of their homes and farms in the Narmada waters.

If they don’t vacate their houses soon, the state government can use force to evict them from the submergence area. But having burnt its fingers in Mandsaur where five farmers were killed in police firing in June, it is treading cautiously.

 However with intermittent rains lashing Narmada valley, water level in the Narmada and possible floods in its vast catchment area upstream will decide when the government will have to evict people.

NBA leader Rehmat told HT that water was rising in Narmada but affected families were still defiant as they wanted justice first. “Though people have become apprehensive about the rising waters, the families will vacate their houses only when the authorities provide justice to all the affected families and ensure complete rehabilitation”, he said.

Meanwhile Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, started ‘Narmada Yatra for justice’ from Tuesday in project affected areas. She was released from jail on August 24. She lashed out at the state government for being apathetic towards the issues of the project affected people.

She said as the water level would rise, over 40,000 families in 214 km stretch upstream Narmada were at the risk of drowning .

The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, Gujarat, which is implementing the SSP, says the project will provide irrigation to 18.45 lakh hectares in Gujarat, 2.4 lakh hectares in Rajasthan and 37,500 hecatres in Maharashtra. SSP will provide drinking water to 9490 villages and 173 urban centres in Gujarat and 1336 villages in Rajasthan. The power generated by SSP is shared by three states- Madhya Pradesh (57%), Maharashtra (27%) and Gujarat (16%).

Web: http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/water-level-crosses-danger-mark-in-narmada/story-TVQUAMZPWMZUEdt227ZwUM.html