Environmentalist and rights activist Medha Patkar has said that today the Narmada river is the biggest issue in Gujarat Elections 2017. She says that politicians have looted the natural resources of the state in the name of development.
“There is no Narmada for Gujarat and that is why the Narmada River is the biggest issue in Gujarat Elections 2017 today. The Sardar Sarovar Dam has been inaugurated and dedicated. But Gujarat is dry. For the downstream victims, the Narmada is dead. For a 100 km down the stream, the river has been converted into a dry bed. For the rest 50 km, the sea has ingressed,” points out the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar, also known as Medha Tai.
The Gujarat Elections 2017 will be held in two phases for 182 seats (December 9, 14). Results of the Gujarat Assembly Elections will be announced on December 18, 2017.
“Industrialists together with the politicians have looted the natural resources of the state. Tourism companies like Ambani have been handed over the Narmada. And now all the reservoirs are being diverted towards industrial areas. Every day, 5 crore 41 lakh liters or water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam is going to be given to companies,” Medha Patkar told greenubuntu.com.
Medha Patkar is one of the founders of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO), composed of hundreds of progressive organizations in the country. Her organization the Narmada Bachao Andolan has been at the forefront of several mass struggles against displacement, inequity, non-sustainability, and injustice in the name of development. She has also penned many books on environment and has received several awards. She has been actively involved in several struggles involving fighting the effects of climate change and global warming.
Sardar Sarovar Dam water to be diverted to industries rather than farmers: Medha Patkar
Ironically, the ruling BJP is turning it over its head and claiming and is trying to make it its poll plank and try to politically cash in on the fact that the Sardar Sarovar Dam’s height was increased to 138 meters under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government has claimed that the mega project will solve the crisis of drinking water in north Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch.
“You see these people have not completed the studies of the downstream. They have not completed 41,000 km of canals for the micro network, which was supposed to take the river water to the farmers. Now, that water cannot reach the farmers. This is was the basic reason or so called reason for building the Sardar Sarovar. But all that was fooling the people. You see the water can now reach the industries through pipeline. There is so much brouhaha over development, but what happens to the 40,000 families that are yet to be rehabilitated,” says the NGO chief Medha Patkar.
Violence against nature and communities, says NAPM leader Medha Patkar
“This is a violent approach towards nature. This is violence against nature in the name of development. Many people say development has gone mad. It is true. Politicians and industrialists have gone mad in their relentless exploitation of nature. They have made development as a tool for their vote bank. For that they can go to any extent, they are ready to pay any price for exploiting the resources through all undemocratic means such as rivers, land, and hills,” adds the NAPM leader.
“On the other hand, there are those who take advantage of the produce of forest communities and the agriculturists, who provide us with roti every day. They use it for marketization and commercialization, which is not sustainable. Therefore, destruction of resources is ultimately what is happening, not just displacement of people. The violence then is invariably against the living communities, which were always the conservators of land and forests. They did not sell out,” add Medha Tai.
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