Sunday, April 16, 2006

Aamir Khan Finally Talks Sense - No to Narmada Dam.

No to Big Dams like Narmada Dam aka Sardar Sarovar Project

narmada dam river flooding trabals gujarat maharahtra sardar sarovar project consequences demerits aamir khan medha patkar bachao andolanAamir Khan may or may not be seeking additional publicity for the dwindling ticket sales of Rang de Basanti - but atleast he has his heart in the right place by supporting a just cause like Narmada Bachao Andolan instead of pulling silly publicity stunts like anchoring TV news channels etc.

narmada dam river flooding trabals gujarat maharahtra sardar sarovar project consequences demerits aamir khan medha patkar bachao andolanYou don't find much about the demerits of large dams like the Sardar Sarovar Project in newspapers or the internet but that does not mean they do not exist. The press is largely dependant on the government and newsagencies for thier information. As most of them are controlled by big business houses is is pretty easy to spread lies or give incomplete information. The media can't exist without thier ads. eg. in TOI today, I saw a one page ad supporting the Sardar Sarovar Project with the photos of Ambani brothers, Birlas, and heads of Essar, Aravind Mills, Nirma, Torrent, Adani, Cadila, Zydus, L&T and Kotak Mahindra - all Gujaratis ( Marwaris & Sindhis). These are the people who subvert public opinion, lobby the government and the media to continue with an economically unfeasible project just cause they have some stake in its constuction - like providing cement, stones etc. They are only bothered about how much profit they will make or loose on the dam.

Myths perpetuated by those Damn lying builders -

Narmada Dam Lie No. 1. - Tribals are Rehabilitated - The creation of reservoirs leads to lakhs of kilometeres of fertile land near the river being flooded. There is talk about giving alternative land to the poor tribals but in reality either infertile land is given, or land already belonging to someone else or land really far away. Officials in charge of distributing land demand bribes and gifts from tribals and harass them.

Narmada Dam Lie No. 2. - We are growing trees to replace the ones we cut down, we are creating bird sanctuaries - In reality the freshwater ecosystem and forests are also destroyed. Lots of animal, birds, fish and plant species are threatened and face extinction. Before a reservoir is flooded people can be moved, but who will move those lakhs of animals and wild plants that habitate that area. The reservoir will be filled with drowned dead animals leading to the spread of water borne diseases. Animals serve a specific purpose in the food chain and thier destruction leads to pollution and diseases like plague etc. Who told them to spend crores on planting trees unsuitable to the natural environment which died soon after ?? Why would you destroy a natural ecosystem and plant a fake water-bird habitat in its place ??

narmada dam river flooding trabals gujarat maharahtra sardar sarovar project consequences demerits aamir khan medha patkar bachao andolanNarmada Dam Lie No. 3. - Dams reduce floods - Dams are a man made construction and can break anytime !! There is no guarantee of the quality of construction ( shoddy materials have been most probably used ). Narmada Area is an earthquake prone area - remember the Gujrat quake ?? In case the dam breaks there will be unparalled flooding and destruction like in New Orleans, America. Also flash floods and silting is caused when large amount of water is released by the dam.

Narmada Dam Lie No. 4. - There will be plenty of Drinking water - Dams lead to waterlogging and increased salination of land. Salt water affects drinking water leading to diseases. No crops can be grown on saline lands, and use of fertilisers and pesticides to lessen the saline effect proves costly and harmful. There are cheaper ways that ensure a better supply of water like traditional rainwater harvesting, construction of large tanks and borewells, recharging wells and planting of trees.

Narmada Dam Lie No. 5. - Cheap Electicity for farmers/businesses - In reality Hydro electricity from the dam will be available only in 2021 to the people. This is economically unviable because of the negative cost benefit ratio. It would be cheaper to use thermal power or renewable sources like solar or wind energy that is free and abundant in India and easy to set up.

Narmada Dam Lie No. 6. - Greening of lands - why do you forcefully want farmers to grow cash crops for export like sugarcane, sun flowers, groundnuts etc. that pushes up the cost of living in these areas ?? As farmers stop growing thier natural dry crops like bajra and jowar, they will starve and end up committing suicide like the other poor that are ignored in India.

narmada dam river flooding trabals gujarat maharahtra sardar sarovar project consequences demerits aamir khan medha patkar bachao andolanJust because tribals don't have the money that talks or a PR firm to articulate and publicise thier POV in English/ Hindi does not mean that they are blockages in the progress of the nation. Why should an uneducated majority in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh suffer for the profits of a few Kanjoos Marwari businessmen ?? Narendra Modi as usual is 'Bhadka-ing' innocent Gujratis to take up violence. EVERY SCHOOL KID LEARNS ABOUT THE HARM BIG DAMS CAUSE IN THIER GEOGRAPHY TEXTBOOKS, THEN WHY SHOULD IT TAKE THE GOVERNMENT SO LONG TO CUT ITS LOSSES AND MOVE AHEAD BY STOPPING THE NARMADA DAM PROJECT NOW ??


  1. I think you are rather slow on this one.

    All your points are water under the bridge. This project is not coming up today. It started in 1961 and all arguments have been made by various people including NBA. Apart from the different Governments involved both at the centre as well as concerned states for all these years, the highest court in the land has considered everything and the supreme court judgement of 2000 was final.

    Now as good citizens, everyone should accept this. Of course, one is free to stick to his or her opinion for the next 50 years. That is the privilege available in a democracy to all.

    The only practical issue now left to be addressed - and it is a real issue not abstract one- is the rehabilitation issue where also the Supreme Court as well as the Governments are presently involved and the affected people are having a chance to have their say. They do not need someone like Aamir because they can directly approach the authorities including the Supreme Court.

  2. Why do you think countries in the developed world have stopped building dams ? Everyone knows it is economically unfeasible and leads to disasters.

    Here's a bit of history for those with a really short memory. The first war of Indian Independance was fought in 1857, but India became independant only in 1947 - i.e 90 years later. At the time of Gandhiji's struggle neither did the British 'government', law courts or military in India nor did the rich maharaja's or Indian beaurocrats ever support or believe that freedom of India was a practical issue. Now that we are a free country, as a good citizen, no Indian would ever dream of saying that Freedom was a mistake.

    In comparison, the struggle against the dam has continued for only a few decades. We all know what a tedious process 'approaching the courts' in India is. Yes, the affected people are poor and uneducated which makes it even more difficult. Just because no one is willing to listen does not mean they do not have a just cause. Miraculously, they have folks like Patkar, Arundhati and Aamir who have been unafraid to speak out for them.

    If technology was a bad thing, we would have millions protesting against the railways, flyovers, delhi metro etc. But we do not as this has a positive cost-benefit ratio. This is not true in the case of the Narmada Project and even kids study this in school. Why do you think Anil Ambani is entering wind power ?

    “Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary.” It may take many years but it's better late than never !!

  3. Brilliant reasoning by cyberkitty, especially comparison with independence of India.

    I say, down with the dam! Let's cancel the project as per the wishes of Medha, Arundhati, Aamir, Diya, cyberkitty and others who have similar views.

    And we can all live happily ever after.

    Sujalam Sufalam....

  4. I feel cyberkitty and others are just supporting the agitation without understanding the consequences and the harm they do to the country by delaying development works involving thousands of crores of public money which belongs to you and me and indulge in so-called intellectual exercise from the comforts of their homes.

    They obviously also do not think of the dire straits of lacs of people suffering without water.

    NBA has its own agenda and they could not care less whether the country has already spent 1000 or 10,000 crores and whether the country continues to live without water, power and food. They do not have a sense of proportion.

    It is high time people start
    using their own sense in a mature way without getting carried away by emotional blackmail seeing Medha Patkar's drama going to fast.

  5. Reply to Madan Bhalla:

    Don't be fooled by the construction mafia into thinking that the Sardar Sarovar Project will provide drinking water to millions of poor. This and the irrigation myth is a lie perpetuated by Narendar Modi and other politicians for thier own gains. Before the water ever reaches drought hit Kutch & Saurashtra, it will go through politically powerful districts of Vadodara, Kheda, Ahmedabad etc. where it will be used for Sugar-mills, water-parks, golf-courses, and five-star hotels.

    Yes, the country has spent thousands of crores on this project over the last decades. As studies have shown that water (meagre) may reach drought areas only in 2021, why should we allow the government to waste additional crores and another 20 years on this project when there are cheaper alternatives.

    Traditional water harvesting systems like deepening village ponds, recharging dried wells,construction of simple watersheds, lining ponds with plastic sheets, constructing tanks and growing trees etc. have proven successful in desert areas in Rajastan and Gujarat. This is very cheap to construct and provides water within 2-3 months.

    Water is a precious thing, life is impossible without it. But this does not mean that we should allow the people in control to bully us into waiting 15 years for a glass of water that costs Rs. 500 when it is possible to get the same for free in a few months.
    Got it ?? Any mature person with common sense would !

  6. sorry dude you seem to have a perverse view of things and you have a blocked mind that does not let you see issues in proper perspective.

    It is not point arguing with you.

  7. Whatever !

    Not really surprised to see anony... throw in the towel !


We'd love to hear from you. Please post a comment below to let us know what you think!