The Narmada controversy
The Sardar Sarovar dam,
being constructed at Kevadia in
Gujarat, threatens to displace nearly 300,000 people from the villages,
mainly tribals. To be built at a cost of Rs 440 billion, it is
estimated that the dam could submerge 44,363 hectares of fertile
land and 40,332 hectares of India's best natural forests.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan, championing the cause of the
tribals, points out that contrary to the government claims of providing
water in Saurashtra, the dam will cut water supply from 59 of the
69 talukas in the region. In Kutch, 5 of the 9 talukas
will be left dry. Moreover, the heavy expenditure incurred
through the dam will not leave money for other development schemes.
As a result of the NBA's agitation, the Supreme Court has stayed
the dam's construction for two-and-a-half years; the dam was 80.3
metres high when construction was halted. The Gujarat government
has applied for the dam to be built at a height of 110 metres. The court has asked the
government for proper compensation to the tribals -- land for land and
proper rehabilitation. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 24.