to some very commonly and frequently asked questions related to the
Sardar Sarovar Project are briefly
When all the available water is likely to
be consumed by the less needy areas of Central Gujarat before it
ever reaches Kutch and Saurashtra, besides only 1.6% of the total
cultivable land of Kutch and 9.24% of the cultivable land of
Saurashtra are in the SSP command area. Project would benefit rich
farmers, then how the project proposes to solve the severe drought
problems of Kutch and Saurashtra, the two drier parts of Gujarat at
the tail end of the canal system?
It is a fact
that a large number of areas in Saurashtra and Kutch could not be
brought under the command of SSP because of the limited allotment of
Narmada waters to Gujarat and the main canal being a gravity canal
which has to run on falling contour to cover maximum areas. Gravity irrigation has limitations of the inclusion of more areas of
these regions to be covered by the command. Efforts have been made
to give maximum benefits to these regions by providing drinking
water to all areas in the command and also outside the command in
these regions. The irrigation by Narmada in Saurashtra would be
about five times and in Kutch about three times of the present
annual irrigation by surface water. In addition, all the urban
centres and villages of these regions, whether in command or out
side command, shall get the benefits of drinking water supply. There
will not be any water supply for irrigation during the summer but
the canal will run continuously for supply of drinking water except
for a period of about 15 days or so when the system has to be closed
for maintenance. The infrastructure to deliver water to these
regions shall definitely take some more time. The work on the Kutch and Saurashtra branch canals and their sub-branches in the
command is already in progress.
The farmers who will get the benefit of irrigation from SSP in
Gujarat would be –
Marginal farmers (
< 1 ha )
Small farmers (1 –
2 ha )
Further the project is
designed to benefit about 75% of the drought prone areas.
Why an independent agency should not be appointed to monitor works
on the project ?
The Government of Gujarat has allocated 1.06 MAF of water for
industrial and domestic use out of its share of 9 MAF of Narmada
water allocated to it. The Gujarat Water Supplies and Sewerage Board
and the State Industries Department have formulated a detailed
scheme to utilize this water. Out of this quantity 0.893 MAF (1.052
billion M3) is earmarked for drinking water supplies and the rest
for industrial uses. A drinking water supply scheme has been planned
to cater to the needs of 135 urban centres and 8215 villages in
Gujarat. The scheme shall cover all the no-source villages falling
within and out side the command in the North Gujarat, Saurashtra and
Kutch regions. The drinking water scheme is not part of the Sardar
Sarovar Project but is being planned and implemented by the
Government of Gujarat separately.
The Tribunal's Award is final and
binding on the States. The machinery of Narmada Control Authority
has been envisaged and constituted under the Award itself . Apart
from the Union of India, the other States are also represented in
this Authority. The Project is being undertaken by the Government
and it is for the government authorities to execute the same. With
the establishment of various subgroups and subcommittees to monitor
the provisions of the acts and clearances granted by the Govt of
India there is a system in force to ensure satisfactory compliances.
There is in place an elaborate
network of authorities which have to see to the execution and
implementation of the project in terms of the Award. All aspects of
the project are supervised and there is a Review Committee which can
review any decision of the Narmada Control Authority and each of the
three rehabilitating States have set up an independent Grievances
Redressal Authority to take care that the relief and rehabilitation
measures are properly implemented and the grievances of the
oustees if any are redressed.
Even the Honorable Supreme Court
was satisfied that more than adequate steps are being taken by the
States not only to implement the Award of the Tribunal to the extent
it grants relief to oustees, but the effort is to substantially
improve thereon .
Dams are necessarily to be regarded
as an infrastructure project. There are three stages with regard to
the undertaking of an infrastructure project. The first one is conception or
planning, second is decision to undertake the project and the third
is the execution of the project. The conception and the decision to
undertake a project is to be regarded as a policy decision. While
there is always a need for such projects not being unduly delayed,
it is at the same time expected that as thorough a study as is
possible will be undertaken before a decision is taken to start a
project. Once such a considered decision is taken, the proper
execution of the same should be taken expeditiously. The Govt. has
already put a system in place for the execution of a project.
Why large size water harvesting structures are allowed when small water harvesting structures can do the job ?
Water harvesting means to collect, preserve and use the rain water. One of the essential ingredients of water harvesting is the storing of water. The biggest dams to the smallest percolating tanks meant to tap the rain water are nothing but water harvesting structures to function by receiving water from the common rainfall. The reservoir of a dam stores water and is location specific where it can receive a lot of rainfall, the canals take water from this reservoir to distant places where water is a scare commodity. The problem of the area in question is that there is deficient rainfall and small scale water harvesting projects may not be adequate. Therefore, there is a need for high dam like Sardar Sarovar in addition to water harvesting through small structures.
Dam serves a number of purpose. It stores water, generates electricity and releases water throughout the year and at times of scarcity. Its storage capacity is meant to control floods and the canal system which emanates
from there is meant to convey and provide water for drinking, agriculture and industry. In addition thereto, it can also be a source of generating hydro-power.
To conserve surface and ground water through minor irrigation schemes, such as check dams, percolation tanks, gully plugging and other conservation methods can be only supplementary and not alternatives. Such measures help in the sustain
of drinking water sources to some extent and that too if the rainfall
is adequate. In Gujarat, due to vagaries of monsoon time and again, replenishment of medium and minor irrigation reservoirs has been meager.