A very important development is unfolding within Gujarat as PM Mr. Narendra Modi plans to inaugurate the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project (SSP) with a lot of fanfare in Gujarat on his birthday, 17th September 2017.
Mr Suresh Mehta, the former Chief Minister of Gujarat from the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and belonging to the drought prone region of Gujarat, has issued the following leaflet in Gujarati today the 11th of September 2017, scathingly attacking the false claims by the Government of Gujarat regarding the Narmada Dam (SSP) Project.
Important excerpts from the leaflet which is being widely circulated in Gujarati on social media (today) is translated here (by me) for a wider readership. This is a quick and rough translation. The authenticity of the leaflet has been confirmed by a senior journalist in Gujarat.
It has been said that the Narmada Project (SSP) is the life line of Gujarat. But during the last fifteen years or more, the Gujarat Government has not been able to complete the work of the Narmada Project and has not been able to reach the waters to the farmers and this is the best example of its raw/uncouth/untrained administration.
Can this be called Development? Can this be called good Governance?
Only one tenth of the irrigation achieved:
- It was planned that 17, 92,000 hectares would be irrigated by the Narmada project in Gujarat…in 2012-13, the area under irrigation increased to 2, 09,057 hectares… Between 2012-14 the area under irrigation did not increase at all…a year later also, that is in the year 2014-15, there has been no increase in the area under irrigation at all. This way, out of the area to be irrigated by the Narmada project, only 11.67 % is being irrigated and this is what the Government itself is saying.
- The Government of Gujarat’s target itself for irrigation now is very small…the Government is saying that during the years 2017-18 and 2018-19 the increase in irrigation will be to 3, 30,160 hectares…Thus at the end of 2018-19, the irrigation by the Narmada Project will be 18.42%. The meaning of this is that no attention has been paid at all to increase irrigation through the Narmada Project. On the other hand the Government continues to spend crores of rupees on the Narmada Project.
Out of 90 thousand 42 thousand Kilometers of Canal work remains to be completed:
- The area under irrigation has not increased because of the reason that the work of building of the canal is not going on as fast as it should…As per the original documents and planning, the total length of the Narmada canals was 90, 389 kilometers… As per a reply given in the Legislative Assembly by the Government, the State Government reduced the length of the canal to 85,898 kilometers. Once again a reduction has been made to 71,748 …In this way, the Government of Gujarat has reduced the length of the canal by more than 18,000 kilometers…If the length of the canal is reduced, less area will be irrigated.
- In spite of having decided to build fewer canals, the Government of Gujarat has not been able to build even those fewer canals in the last fifteen years… 41,318 kilometers of canals have not been built at all.
- …The Government itself is admitting that the work of the canal has not been completed. The Government is also saying that in the year 2017-18, it will build 3,856 kilometers of canal only…If this is the pace at which the Government of Gujarat is going to work, in order to complete all the canals it will take nearly eleven more years!! Right now the Government of Gujarat is spending (on the project) 9000 crores a year. At this rate in the coming eleven years the budget will reach 99,000 crores!! Experts say that by the time the dam height increased, it was possible to do the work of the canals. But the Government failed to do so. Considering this, is not the Government of Gujarat guilty?
- …That the work of the Narmada canal has not been completed is of course a big crime by the Government of Gujarat, but out of the canals that are built, most of these are completely of poor quality construction and there are breach/holes at several places and the canals have not even been repaired at many places. This expenditure is also being borne by the six crores of Gujaraties.
- …The proof of how poor the quality of the canal work by the Government has been is clear because the recent floods in Banaskatha were the result of the breaches in the canals…
Huge increase in expenditure and insignificant result:
- As per the initial planning, the total expenditure of the Narmada Project was approximately Rs 6,000 crores. But this has escalated to 56,268 crores by October 2016… The question is that the canal is not fully completed and there has been a huge delay. Then why so much of increase in cost? The meaning of this is that the Government of Gujarat is criminally neglecting the Narmada Project.
As per independent auditor report there is misappropriation in abundance in Narmada Nigam
In the annual report of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited of the year 2015-16, the report of independent auditor Ghiya and Company has been quoted. That (report) shows that there is a lot of misappropriation in the accounts of the Nigam. In most of the cases they say that standards of accounting have not been maintained. As per what has been said on page number 41 of the report…it is possible to conclude that Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam is working Ram Bharose!! The independent auditor report says that in the matters of the water charges to be collected by the Nigam, Land records, Property, Debt, Capital, Interest, Brokerage, Maintenance, etc. the internal regulation of the Nigam is not working effectively at all!! Then in what matter is the Nigam working properly? When the account of crores of rupees is not available at all can it be called Good Governance?
Sureshchandra Mehta, Ex Chief Minister Gujarat [and] Prof. Hemantkumar Shah
Sureshchandra Mehta-Ex-Chief Minister Shree. 6-7, Rangoli Complex, Opposite V.A. Hospital, Ahmedabad-380006”
September 16, 2017 at 9:32 pm
The leaflet raises important issues and projects the futility of the present project. The points must be debated