September 02, 2008

life in general&financial markets: disastrous narmada dam

This report by the TISS details the dangerous problems with the mammoth Narmada dam project in India.

I also wrote about it in the magazine I work for.


The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has come out with a damning report on 'Performance and Development Effectiveness of the Sardar Sarovar Project'. The 119-page report details the various aspects of the Dam's costs and benefits and concludes that these still remain highly contentious.

TISS report states that the irrigation utilisation of the dammed water has been less than 10 per cent of the projected figures. “The performance vis-a-vis drinking water supply from the SSP in the districts surveyed (by TISS) in Gujarat has remained at only 29%-33% of the actual potential...partly because much of the drinking water has been diverted for power plants and industrial use,” states the report.

The human costs are very high, according to TISS, as the state governments have not rehabilitated many displaced families and those rehabilitated have not received fertile and cultivable lands equal to the ones they gave up for the SSP. On environmental costs, TISS did field assessments on 1242 acres of land supposedly afforested and found 86% of these to be highly degraded with little or no tree cover.

The facts uncovered by TISS are not new but highlight the failure of big development projects carried out more by emotions than by reason.

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