You are on page 1of 37

The Sardar Sarovar Dam

Presented By: Group-1
The Narmada Dam in India water pressure
Why do countries build
• It’s 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….
Social and Economic Implications of Dams

Relocation of - impacts on health, & economic,
communities: social, cultural well-being

Loss of community - transfer of control from local level
control over water: to central government or corporate

Diseases: - encouraged by dam projects
(creating habitat for parasites), e.g.
schistosomiasis, mosquitoes
Increasing cost of - problems encountered in building
dams: dams (ex. sedimentation).
- cost of mitigating social,
environmental impacts.
- delays
- best sites already taken -- only
more remote, more difficult sites
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.
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
your sins”
The Narmada river

• It is the largest westward flowing river in India.
• Home to over a million people decom/orgs/NBA.html
The Narmada river – The
• It is home to over a million
people, mainly tribal
people, Adivasi (original
dwellers) whose
grandparents lived on and
farmed the land.
• Local farmers, wage
laborers, craftspeople and
fishermen live along the
river and rely on it for their
The Narmada River & its
The river is used
• Irrigate land for
• 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
• 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
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
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 (India’s leading
textile companies)
• It will displace 180,000 more than
projected and affect 700,000 livelihoods
India’s 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.
¾ of these people were not ‘rehabilitated’

Picture of a village, now
an island
• 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.

“Nobody builds Big Dams to provide drinking water to
rural people. Nobody can afford to.”
“There's a lot of money in poverty .”
Arundhati Roy
• Indian Government supports the building of
• 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
• 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

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
environmental html
Independent Review
• 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 haven’t even
received a resettlement plan and their villages have already been

“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
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
One of the main
problems that came up
was the lack of
communication between
the state and the people
who were to be affected
Save the Narmada
• Established in 1989
• Sept 1989 - 60,000 people rally against destructive
• 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
Where is the $ coming
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.”
Resettlement plan…what
resettlement plan?
Not enough resettlement sites
have been set up for the
amount of people already
The sites that have been set up
Old house
have no electricity, no water,
no farming, and no fruit or
In order to get water etc., they
must buy them but they can’t
buy them if they can’t farm
and they can’t farm because
New house they don’t have these things

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 Old school
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 New 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
• They go back to their old
town by the river and
hope that their houses
have not been destroyed
by police
• They protest
What about the people with no
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.
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.
A picture used on the dam builders
Currently, the town of Gujarat,
website is dependant on emergency

….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
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 Spillway of Sardar Sarovar
Dam is raised upto its crest
level of 121.92 M

• Construction of Irrigation Bye
Pass Tunnel [IBPT] is almost

• Preconstruction activities of
Garudeshwar weir has been
taken up.

• Protests are a regular
occurrence and they will
How can I learn more

Related Interests