सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

New book on Narmada is quiet on reports to decommand 4 lakh hectares

By Rajiv Shah
In sharp contrast to several water resources experts, such as Dr Tushaar Shah, who have long held that increase in groundwater levels witnessed in some parts of Gujarat has been caused by tens of thousands of checkdams built in the late 1990s, a just-published book, “The Sardar Sarovar Project: Assessing Economic and Social Impacts”, authored by an ex-bureaucrat and a senior expert, have insisted that this has taken place because of the availability of the Sardar Sarovar-supported canal network. The book has been coauthored by S Jagadeesan, who was managing-director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) till about two years ago, and M Dinesh Kumar, executive director, Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy (IRAP), Hyderabad.
In a paper Dr Shah wrote in association with Ashok Gulati, Hemant P, Ganga Shreedhar, and RC Jain, “Secret of Gujarat’s Agrarian Miracle after 2000” (“Economic and Political Weekly”, December 26, 2009), the senior experts had stated, “Several exogenous factors have helped Gujarat’s exceptional agricultural growth performance after 1999-2000. Much of Gujarat – especially the drought-prone regions of Saurashtra, Kachchh and North Gujarat – have received above-normal rainfall during all these years.” This, the paper suggests, helped replenish checkdams across Gujarat.
The paper laments that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), “called the lifeline of Gujarat… has been mired in controversies and disputes”, adding, Gujarat may have raised the Narmada dam height to 121.5 metres, and there is “enough water in the dam to irrigate 18 lakh hectares (ha) as originally planned”, yet “SSP irrigation development is stuck because of the slow pace of command area development.” It added, while the main and branch canals were nearly complete, “the government is facing major road blocks in acquiring land for creating the network of distributaries, minors and sub-minors.”
Despite this clearcut view expressed by the group led by Dr Shah, the book is singularly quiet about the whole controversy. This despite the fact that the authors claim that the book is the “first attempt (sic!) to mainly highlight the positive side of the SSP in order to generate a more informed debate”. There is reason to wonder why it does not bother even once to recall what these scholars had said and why. Worse, the years of study the authors have chosen, from 2004 to 2009, for justifying sharp replenishment of groundwater levels, were also the years when Gujarat received excellent rainfall. What was the impact of rainfall on groundwater levels, on one hand, and Gujarat agriculture, on the other, has also not been discussed.
Based on the choice of the years, the authors say, “There has been significant difference in groundwater behaviour in the designated command areas of the SSP between the two time periods, that is, pre-command and post-command.” The districts covered in the analysis are Banaskantha, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Vadodra, Bharuch and Kheda. They add, “Season-wise analysis shows that everywhere water level either started rising at a faster rate or got reversed from the lower trend (pre-Narmada) to the rising trend (post-Narmada).”
At the same time, the authors admit, at least in Kheda, which was a recipient of Narmada waters during this period, while in the pre-Narmada period water levels showed “significant rise at the rate of 4.34 metres per year”, in the post-Narmada period they “dropped significantly … to 1.53 metres per year”, suggesting Narmada had no impact in this Central Gujarat region. However, the authors give no reason as to why this happened. Yet, at one place, they go far as to declare that total dissolved solids (TDS) in Kheda district, despite groundwater levels falling, showed a positive, “sliding trend”!
The authors give SSP full mark for groundwater recharge for the period 2004-09, when the Narmada command area development had not even begun. Even they declare that, thanks to the waters available from Narmada, agriculture boomed, leading to a situation when the “net income increase” rose for such cash crops like cotton across all the locations taken up for analysis. The incomes, they say, relying official sources, increased to Rs 49,586 per hectare (ha) in the Panchmahals and Rs 94,279 per ha in Bharuch.
Is all this because of the Sardar Sarovar Project? One has only to read this in the backdrop of, Dr Shah’s paper, written in 2009, which points to how, as “against a target of 18 lakh ha”, the SSP was then being “irrigating only 80-100 thousand ha mostly in the Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara districts”!
Despite this, the authors seek to insist, “Area under irrigation has increases substantially in all the selected locations after the introduction (sic!) of water by gravity through the Narmada canal system.” In fact, contradicting Dr Shah (as also government’s own reports of those days), the authors say, “With the introduction of water from the Narmada canal, farmers’ dependence on wells and water purchase has reduced. Well-irrigation has become non-existent in all the four selected locations which are receiving canal water by gravity.”
Even here, interestingly, they do not even seek to examine whether this could also be due to good rainfall!
What is even more shocking is, while the authors devote one full chapter on what they call “environmental externalities of the SSP”, pointing to huge “ecological benefits of introducing Narmada water”, at another point in the same chapter (“Social Benefits and Impact”), they declare rather loudly, that the book “does not attempt to relook at the ecological damage (loss of forest, wildlife, and biodiversity) due to reservoir submergence and canal work”! The strange declaration has been made even as pointing towards the need to “examine” whether there were any “negative impacts”, as anticipated, in the Narmada command area.
The refusal to have a look at the “ecological damage” because of the SSP comes even though sharp questions have continued to be raised by social activists led by Medha Patkar, on one hand, and the World Bank, on the other, on destruction of environment because of the Narmada reservoir at the dam site, and sharp increase in salinity levels along the riverbed downstream of the Narmada river, up to the Gulf of Khambhat, making agricultural lands arid, unirrigable.
Worse, the authors refuse to compare the districts they have chosen for their study with other districts which do not fall under the Narmada command, but where because of rainfall water levels went up in the second half of the 2000s. Even then, they proclaim, “The study did not intend to capture changes in the dynamics of farm economy in the neighbouring areas/ regions due to due to changes in agricultural practices.”
And last but not the least, the study – despite its loud-mouthed intention to “generate a more informed debate” – is quiet about the allegation being leveled by social activists and media reports about reported “efforts” by the Gujarat officialdom to decommand whopping 4 lakh ha of land out of 18 lakh ha of the Narmada command area in anticipation of industrialization and urbanization in the Narmada command area.
Interestingly, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), whose more than 40 per cent the area falls in Gujarat, overlaps the more than 500-km-long Narmada main canal. There is no discussion how this major change would impact, if at all, the whole Narmada command area.

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

ભારતમાં જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટના દર્શન, ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મના આગમનને કારણે સમાજ વ્યવસ્થામાં પરિવર્તન

- ઉત્તમ પરમાર  મારી કિશોર અવસ્થામાં કેટલાક ચિત્રો અને મૂર્તિઓએ હૃદયમાં એવું સ્થાન જમાવ્યું છે કે આજદિન પર્યંત  ઉત્તરોઉત્તર વિકસતું જ રહ્યું છે. પ્રેમ કરુણાના મૂર્તિમંત અવતાર  જિસસ ક્રાઈસ્ટને વધુસ્તંભે ચઢાવેલી મૂર્તિ  મારી કોઈપણ ધર્મ વિશેની સમજ નહોતી ત્યારથી મારા હૃદયમાં સ્થાપિત થયેલી છે. મારા ઘરની દિવાલ પર વધસ્તંભે ચઢેલા જીસસની પ્રતિમા જોઈને કોઈ મને પૂછી બેસતું કે તું ક્રિશ્ચન છે?

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने कुछ परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली: प्रमुख प्रस्थापनायें

- राणा सिंह   भारत में परजीवियों का एक विशाल समूह है जो बोलता है कि “सब कुछ माया है”,  लेकिन व्यवहार में यह समूह सारी जिंदगी इसी “माया” के पीछे पागल रहता है।  प्राचीन भारत के लोकायत संप्रदाय ने इन परजीवियों की खूब खबर ली थी।

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।