23 April 2009
SARDAR SAROVAR (NARMADA) PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS’ COMMITTEE CONCLUDES NON-COMPLIANCE: INTERIM REPORT
MOEF ADVISED NOT TO PERMIT ANY FURTHER CONSTRUCTION
The officially appointed Environmental Expert Committee under the Chairmanship
of Dr. Devendra Pandey, Director, Forest Survey of India to review the studies,
planning and implementation of environmental safeguards for Sardar Sarovar and
Indira Sagar Projects has submitted its Interim Report (given far below) to the
MoEF and the same has been under the Right to Information Act.
The Report dated 13th February 2009 has exposed the false claims of the
Governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as also Maharashtra related to the
full or substantial compliance in various aspects including catchment area
treatment, compensatory afforestation and down stream impacts, command area
development, archaeology, health impacts, and seismicity.
In its Interim Report, the Committee has concluded in no uncertain terms that
it “a study of the available documents, coupled with the Committee’s
interaction with the Project Authorities/ affected people / representatives
strongly suggested that there were major shortfalls in compliance with the
prescribed environmental conditionality and requirements”.
It also has arrived at a decision to reject the NCA appointed Committee on Back
Water Levels and its Report on the ground that
1. It violates the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, which requires
the Central Water Commission to finalize the levels and not NCA or its
2. The NCA Report has technical flaws including the presumption of lower
magnitude of flood at Sardar Sarovar dam than the one used for designing and
constructing the dam
3. The NCA Report also presumes lower level of moderated ISP flood for
determining BWL, which is unsafe for planning rehabilitation.
4. The change of Model used by the CWC in 1984 (HEC 11 B) for BWL
calculations to Mike – 11 Model is unjustifiable for technical reasons
5. Mike – 11 Model is also rejected by the High Court of Jabalpur in the
case of Indira Sagar Project
It may be noted that the Narmada Valley Development Authority (M.P.) and NCA
had claimed that their Report would pave a way to raising the dam height, since
it concluded a lowering of BWLs and resultant exclusion of 40+ villages from
the submergence area even after their lands and properties were acquired and
rehabilitation started but not completed.
The Expert Committee rejecting the Report has advised the MoEF not to permit
further raising of the dam height even through construction of piers and
bridges, which are to precede erection of 17 mts high gates on the present dam
wall (122 mts).
The Committee also has noted that “the recommendation for raising the Sardar
Sarovar dam height upto 121.92 mts by the Environment Sub Group on 6th January,
2006 was despite the fact that full compliance with the stipulated
environmental conditions and requirements was admittedly not there. It is
evident from the Minutes of the said meeting that the ESG recommended raising
of height with the assurance that the pending work would be completed. However,
there is no evidence or verification reports to indicate compliance”. .
The Committee further states that studying the various reports and papers,
visiting sample areas in the command and catchment and interacting with
officials as well as PAPs and NBA that it could not even receive the detailed
compliance Reports and its own assessment concluded lack of compliance.
MODI’S NARMADA POLITICS STANDS EXPOSED:
The above mentioned Report has come at a time when Mr. Narendra Modi has been
touring the country with a claim that he and his party have achieved
development through Narmada Project such as supply of drinking water to 1400
villages and large scale irrigation. He publicizes this to the unknown and
ignorant electorate, right upto the Brahmaputra Valley. The fact that not more
than 10% of the villages he refers to have actually received regular water
supply and not more than 20% of the irrigation at the present height has come
true is concealed in the game of politics that is more slogan mongering than a
The people of Gujarat, including those from Kutch and Saurashtra and the lakhs
of people from all the three states in the Narmada valley, however, have
realized the truth and one Report after another has been vindicating the
factual data and analysis as well position taken by the people and the
Kailash Awasya Medha Patkar Clifton Rozario