'People deceived over Narmada in Rajasthan'
Noted Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar on Tuesday alleged that the people in Rajasthan were "politically deceived" over their right of water share from Narmada river through Sardar Sarovar dam, released at a function chaired by Vasundhara Raje in Jalore last month.
Neither the channels were completely built, nor the Canal area development (CAD) project was over at the tail end in Rajasthan's Jalore district (receiving end), and it was a deceitful act of the Rajasthan and Gujarat BJP governments on the eve of assembly polls in the desert state, Patkar alleged a press conference here.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's Irrigation Minister Nitin Patel told the assembly in Gujarat that Narmada water would reach Rajasthan by 2010 depending on the financial situaton of the Sardar Sarovar dam project, she said.
"Even Gujarat's Banaskanatha town bordering Rajasthan has not received Narmada water so far and the local people have already threated to breach the canal system, if water was released to Rajasthan," she said and questioned how 300 cusec (out of 0.5 million acre feet) was released from the Sardar Sarovar dam.
An Environment Sub-Group of Narmada Control Authority had already warned the Gujarat government to be careful while releasing water to down stream areas, she said.
Patkar said Rajasthan has to pay Rs 1,975 crore but by the end of 2010, the cost would be more than five times to just receive 0.5 Maf (million acre feet) out of 9.5 Maf as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal award.
Sardar Sarovar Project approved at Rs 6,407 crore by the Planning Commission in 1988 now costs Rs 45,774 crore by the 11th plan working group last year, she said.