Official rainfall data don't match the huge shortfall of 4.29 MAF in Narmada dam, as peddled by SSNNL

Prime Minister Narendra Modi atop Narmada dam
By Sagar Rabari*
Gujarat Chief Secretary JN Singh and Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) Chairman SS Rathod told PTI on 21stFebruary, 2018 that “due to rain deficit in Narmada Basin, Gujarat has got 4.71 MAF water instead of 9.00 MAF”, i.e. 4.29 MAF (47.66%) less than its allotted share.
Facts, however, are quite contrary and baffling.
According to available data provided by South Asia Network on Dam, Rivers and People (SANDRP), the rain deficit in the Narmada basin was 21%. As per this data, the water available to Gujarat would be 1.89 MAF less i.e. 7.11 MAF instead of 9.00 MAF.
Clause II of the Determination of the Utilizable Quantum of Narmada Waters at Sardar Sarovar Dam Site of the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) award states that:
“The Tribunal hereby determines that the utilizable quantum of waters of the Narmada at SardarSarovar Dam Site on the basis of 75 per cent dependability should be assessed at 28 Million Acre Feet (34537.44 MCM).”
The NWDT award, in clause 4, sub clause (2) specifies that:
“In the event of the available utilizable waters for allocation in any water year from 1st of July to 30th June of the next calendar year falling short of 28 Million Acre Feet (34537.44 MCM), that shortage should be shared between the various States in the ratio of 73 for Madhya Pradesh, 36 for Gujarat, 1 for Maharashtra and 2 for Rajasthan.”
As per the above data and the NWDT award details there are 3 scenarios to be considered:
1. Since the NWDT award was based on “75 per cent dependability” (i.e. the final award is based on 75% of the rainfall in the Narmada basin and not 100%) there is no question of water deficit at present in the share of Gujarat.
2. Further, going by the same data and the NWDT award, consider the deficit rainfall to be 21% which comes to a shortfall of 5.88 MAF. The share of Gujarat in this shortfall is 36% which makes it 2.11 MAF and by this calculation Gujarat must get 6.89 MAF.
3. Keeping aside this important data, let us take the SANDRP data of 21% deficit. In that case the water available to Gujarat should be 7.11 MAF instead of 9.00 MAFi.e1.89 MAF less and not 4.29 MAF (-47.66%) as claimed by SSNNL.
Under no circumstance does the shortfall figure match the huge figure of 4.29 MAF which is being peddled by the SSNNL. Clearly the SSNNL has a lot to explain or hide, discernible through the studied silence being maintained by it in the face of massive protests by farmers across Gujarat.
Despite his silence, our questions to Chairman, SSNNL are:
1. Explain the basis on which you arrived at the figure of 4.71 MAF of water receivable by Gujarat as its share of the Narmada water for the current year.
2. Give us an account of the 4.71 MAF that was received by Gujarat as per your claims.
3. Is the SSNNL trying to woo the MP voters with more water (as was done to Gujarat voters in the run-up to the Assembly elections of Nov. 2017)?
4. When SSNNL has not been able to fulfil the irrigation potential from Narmada water why are industry and big corporate houses being given Narmada water?
5. Finally, is the post of SSNNL Chairman a political post or an executive post? This is because clearly the SSNNL is wilfully turning a blind eye to the state governments’ misuse of the water instead of being an independent manager of the same.
6. Is Narmada water meant for political use to win elections?
*Secretary, Khedut Samaj – Gujarat