Date: 12th June 2014
Shri Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister of India
Respected Narendra Modi-ji,
We are writing to you in extraordinary situation of anguish, after learning from media reports and authentic sources that the Government of India, through the Narmada Control Authority is planning to grant final clearance to the Sardar Sarovar and permit installation of radial gates, above the present height of 121.92 mts, to the final height of 138.68 mts.
Your government has obtained an impressive majority from across the country and therefore, we hope that you will not ignore people’s expectations and would act in national interest. Before any hasty and further decision on Sardar Sarovar, we would kindly request you to dwell upon the following ground realities; situation of rehabilitation, environmental compliance and cost benefits; the human benefits versus human disaster:
Narmada valley (SSP area) with thick village communities in the hills and plains in 245 villages, with a population of 2.5 lakh; thousands of hectares of fertile agriculture and horticulture, hundreds of mandirs, masjids, ghats, schools, markets, Panchayats etc. etc. cannot be drowned without full and lawful rehabilitation.
Thousands of families – mostly adivasis and small farmers are yet to be given land in M.P. and Maharashtra. While hundreds have not accepted cash compensation till date and are entitled to land, thousands who have been disbursed half or full installments of cash compensation have been duped by a nexus of agents and officials and the matter is sub judice (under judicial inquiry). Thousands of landless, fish workers, potters etc. are also awaiting alternative livelihood based R&R.
Expert Committees appointed by MoEF have concluded that numerous studies and safeguard measures on command area development, catchment area treatment, compensatory afforestation, aquatic, health impacts seismic risks, downstream impacts is pending and gross violations have been pointed out, which are yet to be rectified.
Neither the R&R Sub Group nor the Environment Sub Group can grant clearance to raise the dam in the present situation, since the Supreme Court’s Judgement of 2000 clearly mandates that permission shall be given pari passu, only after ensuing full and lawful compliance on all measures.
In M.P. and Maharashtra, hundreds of orders of the Grievance Redressal Authority are pending for compliance and hundreds of applications are also pending to be heard. Your government is bound to comply with the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, R&R Policies, Judgements of the Supreme Court, Action plans and GRA orders. The GRA’s have not yet given their clearance and NCA’s decision without the same would be illegal.
A Judicial Commission under Just S.S. Jha has been inquiring into a massive corruption scam of Rs. 1000 crores in M.P. and the inquiry as well as report on the fake registries, irregularities at 88 R&R sites, house plot allotments, livelihood to landless is due. Huge corruption implies huge rehabilitation work pending.
You know quite well that the people of the Narmada valley are not at all opposed to the interests of the farmers, rural poor and real development of Gujarat and Rajasthan. We are not at all questioning or stalling the construction of canals in the command area. We appeal to you that the canal work needs to be undertaken on a priority basis and the water ponded at 121.92 mts needs to be fully utilized and all pending measures on R&R, environmental compliance should be ensured, before raising the dam height further.
Raise of dam height at this stage would only lead to additional submergence without any real increase in the benefits. Such a decision would be completely unlawful and would not behove your good self as the Prime Minister, responsible for the welfare of the citizens of India. The investment of 70,000 crores needs to be reviewed vis-à-vis the benefits and a comprehensive review needs to be undertaken, with all stake holders.
We appeal to your conscience to stop the hasty decision process, give us an opportunity for a brief hearing with your good self and a detailed presentation before the concerned ministers, who would certainly like to know the situation in the valley and even visit the affected areas to assess the reality, first hand, before taking an irreversible decision. This would be a true ode to Sardar Patel, leader of farmers, from you and your government.
We will stand by every move of yours taken within the framework of law and human justice, but will be compelled to challenge the same if law, human rights and nature are violated.
With sincere and personal regards,
Medha Patkar, Kailash Awasya, Madu Machuwara, Ranveer Patel
Devram Kanera, Pema Bapu, Savabehan, Kamla Yadav
Smt Uma Bharti, Hon’ble Union Minister for Water Resources
Shri Prakash Javdekar, Hon’ble Union Minister for Environment
Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Hon’ble Union Minister for Social Justice.