Narmada Dam should help tribals: Verghese

BG Verghese suggested that a section of income from the dam be allocated to tribals.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 04:01 IST

Senior journalist BG Verghese in Ahmedabad on Thursday suggested that a section of income from the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river be allocated to tribals.

Else, Maoist violence will erupt.

"The rehabilitated tribals were uplifted in a single stroke from rain-fed subsistence level farming to the irrigated one, but those unaffected by the project witness no change," ardent supporter of dam Verghese said in his lecture on "Narmada, displacement and tribals" in Ahmedabad.

"To eradicate the economic disparity among tribals caused by the dam, mainly among Bhils inhabiting the area above the dam, the government should initiate development measures by allocating a chunk of resources gained. Else, the Naxal (Maoist) violence might grip this part of the country too," he said citing an example of a dam in Ghana, where resources are allocated to project affected area and not to affected families only.

Verghese advised that institutions should be set up in Kevadia, Gujarat where the dam is situated, to ensure the development of tribals.

"Establish a university and name it after some social worker like Thakkar Bapa or any of the Bhil leaders," he said.

Narmada dam found itself in a storm of controversy after the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) allowed increasing its height from 110.64 to 121.92 metres a few months ago.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 21:20 IST