Archive for February 11th, 2010

Is Modi Kite Flying over Sardar Sarovar Project?

11 February 2010
Yes!, if Zadafia is to be believed.
Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Fact Sheet
Reported by Gordhan Zadafia on 7th February 2010.
No one can accuse Gordhan Zadafia of being anti-development or anti-progress. Usually such tags are readily attached to anyone who critically examines mega-projects for their avowed benefits & assumed costs against their achievements or non-achievements. Woe befalls those who examine the human costs suffered by the project affected persons (PAP) who are unfailingly from the poor and marginalized communities. When those who examine these issues decide to do something about them, then they invariably get branded traitors or Naxal sympathizers. Zadafia has no such fears. Up until August 2008 he was an important functionary of BJP until he fell out with Narendra Modi and went on to form Mahagujarat Janata Party.
In fact Zadafia was the Gujarat Home Minister when the Riots of 2002 took place. His name appears along with that of Modi among the 62 persons named in a complaint made by Zakia Jaffrey, wife of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey who was murdered along with 68 others at Gulburg Society in 2002. His pro-establishment & ‘nationalist’ credentials therefore are too well entrenched to succumb to the smear campaigns waged against others, who don’t have such solid resume. Nor was he speaking against the Dam. He was gunning for Modi by demanding, “Finish Canal Work or Step Down”. He was simply buttressing his case by quoting data he had obtained by using Right To Information Act (RTI). Fortunately facts can’t be labeled pro-naxal or anti-national; or even the messenger in this case for reasons cited earlier. He is shrewdly asking Modi to deliver in next 2 years (probably in preparation for his strategy for elections due sometime then) comforted by the knowledge it can’t be done. Vast tracts of land need to be acquired for completing planned canal network and the farmers of Gujarat are not willing to forego land for this ‘nationalistic venture’. Modi and his government seem unable to make farmers see sense. Therefore an idea has been mooted to carry water through underground pipelines network instead. A few excerpts from his press coverage :
“…..accused Modi of “criminally neglecting” the Narmada project — the lifeline of Gujarat—and projecting his individual personality through holding festivals and melas instead of working for the people of the state”.
“….the state government had not even acquired land for the canal network, but talked of providing Narmada water through pipelines”.
“….Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan, who put obstructions for the Narmada project, is not there to oppose the canal construction. So what is preventing Modi from completing the canal work?

“….a study conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) titled ‘Performance and Development Effectiveness of the Sardar Sarovar Project’ in August 2008, which suggested not to raise the dam height further till the benefits of 121.92 metres were realised. The study also prescribed penalty for those who failed to realise the potential of the dam. Will the Modi government muster courage to take action against TISS if its report is wrong?