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This Is Description Of My Visit To The Narmada Valley In India, It Discusses The Implications Of Sustainable Development, Appropriate Technologu And Small Dams In This Specific Context.

2502 words - 10 pages

A Road to the RiverVarna Sri RamanA Journey for the MindUntil very recently, one of the things that I was very proud of was my firm resolve about things. I could make a decision and stand by it, come what may. This was until recently. This firm belief in my capacities arose perhaps from being able to come through trying times fairly unscathed.It is not so anymore.My capacity to stick by what I think is right and to act upon it by itself remains unchanged -- if anything, it has only grown in strength. It has, though, seen resolves far greater than itself, and the feeling of being small in comparison is perhaps what has widened the many avenues I now see.Twelve days is a short time in a city. It is even shorter in the Narmada Valley. Northwest India is not entirely new to me. But then again, I didn't go to northwest India. I went to the people. I have always found myself getting lost in labyrinths of thought. My visit to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat didn't quite give me enough time to start walking down unexplored paths of unasked and unanswered philosophies of life. Now would be a very good time to tell you about where I went and why I went where I went. I had set out on a journey to see a contemporary people's struggle.It so happened that this place was the Narmada Valley. Narmada's waters are meant to alleviate the suffering of people in drought-prone regions of Kutch and Saurashtra through 3,000 dams, small and big. A very noble thought from any angle and as the wife of the CM of Gujarat said, "The affected people MUST sacrifice to bring about development and equality to others in the country."What they haven't told you is this: A dam has a life. The Sardar Sarovar Project and almost every other dam forming the extensive canal network will last little over 25 years, after which they will cease to work due to natural silt accumulation. The construction of these dams will take 25 years. So, when will the water reach the people? Never.The Narmada Tribunal has said that a villager must get land for land; the governments in question have no land to give them. The governments can afford to give the aadivaasi stones and a thin layer of black soil as compensation -- where will the crops grow? The governments must substitute peoples' means of livelihood -- so land for land to the farmer. But where will they get water and fish for the Kewats, the local fishing community? The government wants to build dams for irrigation -- by canals to lands that are undulating and do not require canal irrigation. Is someone listening?We cannot ask what kind of development the government is attempting -- when the area that requires power needs it during the summer months. The dam provides power when it rains. The government should not be questioned about its intentions when it cannot afford to pay Rs. 1.25 per unit of electricity. How will it pay Rs. 8 or even Rs. 32 per unit of the power that the dam generates?The government wants the aadivaasi to leave his...

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