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The Narmada Bachao Andolan

Nobody builds Big Dams to

provide drinking water to rural people. Nobody can afford to. water pressure


It is designed to introduce you to the effects of large dams in developing nations, the political power and its effect it has had on the tribal people of India. It analyzes and describes how the Narmada Dam has come to be, paying particular attention to the social, environmental and public health impacts of the processes associated with the Narmada Dam.


Why do countries build Dams?

Its a means by which many of the developed countries of the world build their economic strength Improving the circumstances of a region - be it health, crops, infrastructure or industries - leads to greater productivity, more markets, sturdier populations, more investment, and so on
However, there is a cost.
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Social and Economic Implications of Dams

Relocation of communities: Loss of community control over water: Diseases: Increasing cost of dams:
- impacts on health, & economic, social, cultural well-being

transfer of control from local level to central government or corporate control - encouraged by dam projects (creating habitat for parasites), e.g. schistosomiasis, mosquitoes - problems encountered in building dams (ex. sedimentation). - cost of mitigating social, environmental impacts. - delays - best sites already taken -- only more remote, more difficult sites left. 4


Social and Economic Implications of Dams

Inflexibility of hydrodams as power source (need to predict electricity demand far in future). Increasing economic inequalities: disproportionate share of project benefits usually go to wealthier sectors of society Important contributor to national debt.


Now lets go find out about the Narmada River in India


The Narmada River river_basin.htm

Narmada means ever-delightful, one of the holiest rivers in the country of India

they say that even the site of the river will cleanse all of 14-Aug-13 your sins

The Narmada river

It is the largest westward flowing river in India. Home to over a million people (total pop. of India is 1 billion, 15% of world population)

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The Narmada River & its people

The river is used for: Irrigate land for farmers Drinking water Wash clothes Cook Spiritual benefits


Why the Narmada Dam?

Currently in India: 1/5 of pop. (200 million people) are without safe drinking water 2/3 of pop. (600 million people) lack basic sanitation 2/5 of pop. (350 million people) live below the poverty line With rain being sporadic because of rainy seasons and variations between different parts of the country, the idea of storing river water in reservoirs behind dams seemed to be a great solution
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The Narmada Dam Project

The first of the dams to be built is the Sardar Sarovar. It is considered to be one of the most important dams in the project and the biggest water development project in India According to the government, the Sardar Sarovar Dam will do the following: Provide safe drinking water to 30 million people Irrigate 4.8 million hectares of land Produce 550 megawatts of power Provide 1,300 cubic-meters of water per yr.for municipal and industrial purposes Provide a drainage system to carry away floodwaters It will also take the land of 320,000 people
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The Narmada Dam Project



The Sardar Sarovar Dam

The cost of the project was estimated at $200 million, actual cost is $450 million Investors are the World Bank until 1993 (when they withdrew), Gov. of Gujarat (state where the Sardar Sarovar dam is located) and S.Kumars (Indias leading textile companies) It will displace 180,000 more than projected and affect 700,000 livelihoods



Indias History with Dams

According to the World Commission on dams: Over the last 50 years, India has built more than 1500 large dams. 70% of the irrigation projects are still incomplete 16 million Indian people have been forced from their homes because of these dams. of these people were not rehabilitated

Picture of a village, now an island

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Indias History with dams

Crop Before Irrigation Average yields per acre after 1977-78 1. Paddy 2. Jowar 3. Maize 4. Wheat 5. Gram 4.00 2.82 4.81 3.14 2.43 2.98 3.64 4.07 3.30 1.96 irrigation (in quintals) 1978-79 3.83 2.74 4.01 3.06 2.08

Above is a chart from a Dam built in India in 1976 and it shows how the irrigated areas went down after the dam was built.
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Dalits and Adivasi (indigenous people). In accordance to their caste system they are often referred to as untouchables. Many of these people are uneducated and very few can read and write. Narmada Bachao Andolan, the Save the Narmada Movement (NBA). The movement started in 1986 when the World Bank lent India $450 million for the Sardar project. It was started by a social worker named Medha Patkar. She is the representative for the NBA movement.


Medha Patkar



Arundhati Roy; Booker Prize-winning author supporter of the Save the Narmada Movement; wrote a book about the Dams in India called The Greater Common Good.

Baba Amte; a social worker whose work with leprosy has earned him much respect in the country among the tribal people and government officials.

There's a lot of money in poverty .

Arundhati Roy




Indian Government supports the building of dams The World Bank supported the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project and loaned India $450 million. They withdrew from the project after an independent review confirmed social and environmental impacts were increasing. The Supreme Court of India has ruled on the Sardar Sarovar Dam. In 1995 they suspended work on the dam because the height exceeded the amount originally planned, 75m. In 1999 they ordered work to continue up to the height of 85m. Then in Oct 18, 2000 they ruled in favor of building the Sardar Sarovar despite global protests




Mr Vyas, Gujarat's Minister for Narmada Irrigation.

We have shown that if anybody else in the world can do it, we can do

it better "I think this is a civil engineering marvel." If you have to sacrifice a little bit of your own for the good of society, do it gladly, willingly, smilingly" "We have given them the best and put them in the bracket which belongs to the best people. We can't wish them away."
Mr. Vyas in Drowned Out film.



Why did the World Bank withdraw the loan?

It was a protest by the NBA called 'satyagraha' that caught the World Banks attention.
They sent in an independent review team headed by Hugh Brody, a British anthropologist and Donald Gamble, a Canadian environmental engineer.



Independent Review findings:

No environmental impact report No assessment on the effects of people living down stream despite a previous report by the bank regarding increased salinity that would destroy fishing grounds, increase in silt and the project would only be able to irrigate 5% of what was initially stated. People have died because of malaria. A previous report from the bank said the project was taking malaria to the doorsteps of the villagers. But the report stated the measures promised to prevent this were not yet due. Inadequate resettlement plans, some villages havent even received a resettlement plan and their villages have already been destroyed.

The politicians used drought-stricken populations to justify their big dams,

despite knowing that the projects can never deliver

Hugh Brody, from independent review team for the World Bank
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Environmental Impacts

Threat to aquatic habitat barriers for fish passage, water quality is affected because of change in land use can also affect aquatic life Water logging excess water in the soil and can render the soil useless. This could affect 40% of the area to be irrigated. Salinisation when irrigation water has more saline content and adds more salt to the system. This happens because the land to be irrigated is an arid area and not used to so much water. This impacts the flora and fauna and makes the water not suitable for drinking.


Health Impacts
Outbreak of diseases the concern of an increase in malaria because of the increased reservoirs and water logged lands, which are prime locations for mosquitoes to breed. Authorities have suggested pesticides but there is concern for humans ingesting the pesticide. Another disease on the rise is TB because of the increasing number of people being moved out of their villages because of dams. The shanty towns they move to have no running water and no plumbing.



Social Impacts
There was no social impacts assessment before the dam project started. The World Bank tried to do an assessment after the dam project started but found that there was a severe shortage in baseline data. One of the main problems that came up was the lack of communication between the state and the people who were to be affected by the project.



Save the Narmada Movement

Established in 1989 Sept 1989 - 60,000 people rally against destructive development Jan 1990 5,000 people marched on the Narmada Valley Development authority offices forcing them to close March 1990 10,000 protesters blocked the highway from Bombay for two days May 1990 2,000 people staged a sit-in outside the prime ministers house in Delhi



Save the Narmada Movement

Christmas Day 1990 Long March 3,000 people walked, 100km, which took a week to the dam site, once they got there Medha Patka and 6 others went on a hunger strike demanding the government suspend work on the dam and hold an independent review. It lasted 22 days until they broke fast this made Narmada an international issue. Jan 1991 The World Bank commissions independent review



Where is the $ coming from?

The Indian government stated The government felt the bank was encroaching on the sovereignty of India. We needed to put our foot down. Once the world Bank withdrew, the country of India financed the rest of the Dam themselves.

However, India has already received $250 million from the World Bank and is legally obligated towards the Bank to carry out its obligations under the loan agreement.
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Resettlement planwhat resettlement plan?

Not enough resettlement sites have been set up for the amount of people already displaced. The sites that have been set up have no electricity, no water, no farming, and no fruit or trees. In order to get water etc., they must buy them but they cant buy them if they cant farm and they cant farm because they dont have these things

Old house

New house 14-Aug-13

While the pictures of the new settlements look like an improvement, they are deceiving. The resettlement agency showed the same town to tribal people who were considering being relocated. For those that resign to move, will be taken to a completely different town with no amenities promised, if there are any houses available at all
The other option is to take a cash payment for what their land is worth, which oftentimes is not enough to buy other property and goes to food for survival
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Old school

So where do the people go?

They move to the outskirts of the city where they try to get work as laborers and live on less than $1 a day
They go back to their old town by the river and hope that their houses have not been destroyed by police They protest 14-Aug-13


What about the people with no water?

One of these villages in the desert region where millions of people are affected by water shortages is Gujarat. It is one of the villages bring used by the government to justify the Narmada dam. Twenty years ago they relied on their wells, but the wells are now dry. Why? Agribusiness and industry are drilling ever deeper tube wells to find water, which is causing the water level to decrease by about 4ft every year. Currently, the town of Gujarat, is dependant on emergency water supplies from the government

A picture used on the dam builders website


.if the water is so scarce why is there a water park in Gujarat where people are dying of thirst?
a water theme park's discotheque. Popular playgrounds for urban, educated Indians, water parks are booming in India, drought or no. The park's water luxury stands in sharp contrast to conditions in Gujarat. 14-Aug-13

..good question


Utilizing Resources

The village of Raj Samadhiyala is also in the drought region and yet it is self-sufficient in water because they are using simple water saving and collecting techniques to recharge the groundwater level and their wells.



Current status of the Dam

The Sardar Sarovar dam height will be raised to 110m. This will displace 12,000 families without any resettlement or displacement program.
Protests are a regular occurrence and they will continue to do so until the dam is stopped.