ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE PEOPLES’S INVESTIGATION
COMMITTEE ON NARMADA PROJECT
Several failures in main canal and branch canals in last four years and poor performance on the side of construction of the distribution canal network and water distribution to farmers in the existing canal network have caused urgent need of loud thinking by eminent and intelligent leaders of the society and to share their views with the public at large, so as to enable the society to be enlightened with the real issues of the Sardar Sarovar Project, which has been claimed as the most prestigious project of the Gujarat state by all political parties. Following organisations, active in society for last several years, are constrained to constitute an independent non-political People’s Investigation Committee on Narmada Project:
- People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL)
- Gujarat Sarvodaya Mandal
- All India Secular Forum
- People’s Movement of India (PMI)
Following enlightened public leaders/ eminent thinkers are appointed hereby as members of the committee:
- Justice Shri DG Karia (Chairman)
- Shri Ashvin Jinjuvadia (Journalist from Mundra (Kutch))
- Shri Ami Mankad (Pravah)
- Shri Balendra Vaghela (Social Activist from Rajkot)
- Shri Diganat Oza (PMI) (Member Secretary)
- Shri Gautam Thakar (PUCL)
- Shri Harinesh Pandya (Janpath)
- Shri Rajani Dave (Sarvodaya Mandal)
- Smt Swati (Mozeda – Parivar)
The report is expected to be completed by July 2009 and to be published by August 2009.
The committee shall include in its study following issues:
- Causes – technical, contractual and other, if any, for the failures at different locations in main canal and some branch canals in last four years.
a) 2002 – Eight breaches in different parts of Gujarat
Effects of such failures on the population in the surrounding and public funds spent for re-establishment of the canal, - response of the government administration to such failures.
b) 2003 – Three breaches in the main canal
c) 2004 – Breach in Pavi-Jetpur section in Vadodara district, leaving 18 villages marooned
d) 2008 – 21 meter-wide breach in Kadi taluka of Mehsana district affecting 16 villages
e) 2009 – 35 water wide breach in the Maliya branch, leading to complete stoppage of water supply to Rajkot, Jamnagar and Kutch
- Distribution network of canal has been prepared hardly of 10% of the size of the command area despite having no legal hindrances on the way to construction of canals. Contrarily, water of Narmada is distributed outside the command area by incurring huge extra expenditure and illegal and unethical practices.
- Original planning of the Sardar Sarovar Project and water distribution plan envisaged therein comprise gravity flow with pumping from two canals – Saurashtra Branch Canal and Katchchh Branch Canal whereas presently extraordinary weightage is given to application of electricity-based and pipeline-based distribution network – the reasons behind the policy shift and its effects on the public in general.
- Water allocation for drinking purpose, industrial use and agricultural use as reported before the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal has not been followed in practice and the share has been drastically changed presently – the reasons behind such policy changes, its implications on agriculture and the designated command area of the Sardar Sarovar Project.
- Irrigation rates and industrial water rates and amongst industries, different rates – rationale behind the policy of water rates and its appropriateness.
- Rs. 28000 crore has been spent for the Sardar Sarovar Project. What would be the requirement of funds henceforth? Judiciousness of expenses made and to be made.
- Potential of hydropower generation has not been harnessed so far. Pumping requires electricity consumption and hydropower compensates the same to some extent – the strategy of government administration.
- Water allocation for Katchchh and construction planning of canals therein.
- Planning of utilisation of surplus flood water in Narmada river.
- Is it true that after promising to allow water to be drawn through pumps in the canal, farmers were made to make advance “PIYAT” payments and deposits. Now by oral orders of officials of SSNNL they have stopped water for irrigation.
- Any other issues the Committee finds necessary to examine.
(People’s Investigation Committee)