Sunday, January 9, 2011

Campaign against Par-Tapi-Narmada Riverlinking Project

Dear All,

Par-Tapi-Narmada Interlinking of Rivers project is part of the peninsular interlinking of rivers. It intends to connect seven west flowing rivers in north Maharashtra and south Gujarat and take the collected water (what the project proponents call surplus waters) 400 km north to central Gujarat in Bharuch and Vadodara districts. This is actually the Narmada dam command area.

Three dams are proposed in Dharampur Taluka of Valsad district (Paikhed, Mohanakavchali and Chasmandva dams), Three dams are proposed in Ahwa taluka of Dangs district (Chikkar, Dabdar and Kelwan dams), both these districts are in South Gujarat. Jheri dam is proposed in Surgana block of Nasik district of Maharashtra state. A map is attached here. More information is available at and the feasibility report for this project is at These dams will affect 75 villages and may displace a population of about 25000.

It is an irony that when when the government wants to build dams in an area where people have the right to self-determination by law, they are not even informed in advance, let alone plan or decide.

An awareness building programme was started on 4th January 2011 by groups involved in informing people about the projects as well as gathering information and organising people. Here are two updates about this programme-march.


This is the first update about a series of awareness meetings in villages affected by the seven dams proposed as a part of the Par-Tapi-Narmada interlinking of rivers project. The update below was written yesterday. Today the day started good, we've had two very good meetings. People decided to walk the first leg of the yatra, so we walked that together. Lets hope we are able to send more updates after this one too. I will try to send a better update with specific information about certain terms and so on.

Update on the campaign against Par-Tapi-Narmada Riverlinking Project


A couple of days ago co-ordinator of Par-Nar Adivasi Sangathan, Shri Dhakalbhai went to meet the PSI and Mamlatdar to seek permission for the yatra. He got the same answer from both officers, since this was a yatra opposing govt, permission could not be given. Dhakalbhai's response to it was simple, since govt was planning something to destroy their lives and livelihoods, they have no choice but to try to stop this devastation. Finally, permission was not given. But this apparently galvanised the NWDA and the police dept into action. They started calling important persons, sarpanches and other local representatives, village leaders and started a series of misinformation and lies.

They tried to tell people that if they start this yatra then:

-- anything can happen.

-- since the dams are planned by the govt, and govt plans everything for the development of people and benefit of people, there was no reason for opposing these projects.

-- veiled threats are being made against the people

-- instigating the local people against us activists with help of lies.

It is also obvious by planting disinformation they are trying divide and rule.

Then on 2nd Jan 2011 the police organised a traffic education camp in a school and invited Sujata to the camp in Dharampur. Sujata Shah,Jayprakash and Ramesh(representing Sarvodaya Parivar trust working in Dharmpur for last 43 years) and Anand Mazgaonkar went to this meeting. There was a presentation by K.P.Gupta (Suptd. Engineer, NWDA) about the Par-Tapi-Narmada link. (Ramesh's comment about it was that the whole presentation made a big thing about benefits and played down the destruction it was going to cause). When Ramesh pointed out that some villages which were going to be submerged (and hence will be) displaced were actually shown as beneficiary villages in the presentation, they were caught off-guard. After the presentation the D.S.P (Dist. Superintendent of Police) tried to say to Sujata, Anand and others that since the project was beneficial to the people there was no reason to oppose it. Mr Gupta pointed out that in Mohanakavchali (Satipathy village people who have declared themselves autonomous from Govt. & all its institutions, currency etc.) and Paikhed village, villagers were not allowing surveys which was holding up their work. And this needs to be stopped. They have to be allowed to do surveys. Perhaps Gupta has also made formal complaint to the D.S.P. (based on which they organised this meeting). It was very obvious that DSP or Gupta were not prepared to answer any of the questions raised by Ramesh, Jayprakash, Anand or Sujata. In fact, they tried to make veiled threats if the yatra was started. In fact, in response to questions being raised, they abruptly ended the meeting and held a closed door meeting to decide what action they should take.

So, after this meeting with DSP and Gupta, Sujata, Anand and others held a meeting in Gundiya village talking about the risks of carrying out the yatra etc. But after a detailed discussion, people resolved to carry on the yatra.

PSI visit: They came to see where Sujata lives, where the yatra is going to start and to inform that law and order situation should not worsen. They came to know about the people and yatra.

They asked the life history of Anand, from birthdate, birthplace to whether born in hospital or home! They also asked whether he has any association with Medha Patkar and what are the activities he is involved in and also where his parents are, what they do, what does his other siblings do and their address and so on! They have asked for his photograph. The Govt. & its agencies have started spreading misinformation, lies & the bogey of 'outsiders' inciting 'poor. innocent' adivasis. Their efforts in the last few days have been focussed on dissuading the villagers participating in the yatra, making veiled threats & planting the seed of 'outsiders' working against 'Gujarat's interests'.


Update on the campaign against Par-Tapi-Narmada Riverlinking Project

6th January 2011

Day 1: 4th January 2011

The march started from Khadki village in the morning and traversed through the village and went across the Nar river (on which the Paikhed dam is proposed). Khadki village will be affected if Paikhed dam is built. The marchers then passed through Choura village and then went on to Khapatiya village. A two hour long meeting was held here which was attended by over 200 people. Local leaders as well as guests addressed the meetings. Close to 80 marched from village to village.

The march then went on to Tutarkhed village where another evening meeting was also organised. People resolved to march on despite police presence as well as threats mentioned earlier.

Day 2: 5th January 2011

As the march passes through more villages, numbers are swelling. Close to 400 people marched early morning from Chikhalpada village to Gundiya village in Dharampur block of Valsad district. A meeting was organised in Gundiya village and was attended by close to 750 people. Men and Women continue to march in spite of police pressure. At every place people expressed their resolve not to be fooled again by authorities and promises.

Simple food like rice & dal is served by the village hosting all the marchers and feeding all those who attend meetings. All the food grains are collected from household contributions in each host village.

Evening meeting in Rakshasbhuvan village in Surgana block of Nasik district of Maharashtra state. People from both the states linked by the common thread are joining together in the struggle for right to life and are resolvign to fight nonviolently.

Next day the march will reach the Dangs district, a majority adivasi district where this interlinking of rivers project is proposing 3 dams in Chikkar, Dabdar and Kelwan villages.



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