Tuesday, April 18, 2006

where are the answers?

The Narmada is back in the news. Why? Is the NBA against all the dams that will be built across the Narmada? Or are they against the Sardar Sarovar Dam in particular? If the flashpoint was reached when the height of the dam was increased in keeping with the judgement, are they fighting against the raising of the dam height? Would the people of the NBA be happy and pests like Arundhati Roy go away if the height of the dam was not raised? Or do they want the dam work to stop in toto? Why has it suddenly become a Gujarat thing? Aren’t Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra a part of this project as well? Well, all 4 states have been asked to submit status reports on rehabilitation, but why does Nafisa Ali, she who is on the NBA’s side, make it look like a Gujarat thing, or in particular an anti-Modi thing? Or is it a fight for proper rehabilitation? The picture is so hazy that the Supreme Court judge himself asked the NBA lawyer, “Is it a case of inadequate rehabilitation or no rehabilitation?”. Replied the NBA lawyer (who is either ignorant, lazy, or just can’t understand English), and this to the judge, “Read the Ministerial report. It is comprehensive enough.” Thus dodging the questions. So what is about? As concerned citizens, how do we make up our minds if we don’t get to read “ministerial reports”? If the dam is going to benefit millions of people, across 4 states, why has nobody yet raised the issue about the pros being more than the cons? All the focus is on the harmful effects of the dam, so who will take the side of the beneficiaries and speak on their behalf? Why is the beneficial aspect, if any, not highlighted? Why do we only get to hear Aamir Khan, Rahul Bose, Arundhati Roy give great sound bytes? Why is there not a single interview with the people who will actually be affected? And affected by the dam also includes those whose lives will be better right? Why is Medha Patkar going on a fast against whatever, right and why is Modi going on a fast for whatever, wrong? Or is it the other way round? Both sides interpreted yesterday’s judgment as a victory, so who is right? Where does the truth lie? What are the facts? How do we make up our minds? Who do we ask? We being the concerned citizens, yes, but informed citizens? Dammit.

4 comments:

Prashanth Eyyala said...

Well Shenoy, I wouldn’t agree more. However, call me a pessimist or a cynic, I am yet to have confidence on our babus and politicians to effectively manage such a high profile project. I am not with the National Bakwaas Association (NBA) guys, but if somebody is making such a big hue and cry then it definitely requires some consideration. There is a possibility that farmers have not got their compensation or maybe the land for land compensation would be some barren untillable land. Let’s take the time to reassess and give people what is genuinely due. I guess that’s the only way to stop Nafisa Ali and Medha Pathkar's idiosyncrasies. As someone says, “Barking dog never bites but there could be a good reason why the dog barks”.

shenoy said...

corrigendum: the name above should read Nafisa Ali and not Nafisa Joseph. Call it muscle memory. Or sheer stupidity or carelessness.

shenoy said...

corrigendum: the name above should read Nafisa Ali and not Nafisa Joseph. Call it muscle memory. Or sheer stupidity or carelessness.

George Supreeth said...

Issues are complicated as waters are muddied. Can't make an omlette without breaking eggs? Tit for tat. That old game theory from the prisoner's dilemma makes Mouldy Modi 'fast' while Medha does the real thing. informed citizens need to go one step further than just being informed. The truth is at the grassroots. Diffuse complications by defining the core. The only ones on the farmer's side are the NBA, and antics aside (what else works in this country of ratyatras and fatwas?) the truth is that if the farmer's do get justice it will be only due to NBA's efforts.

While raising the dam can help in both conserving and controlling water, the flip side of further displacement of people from their native lands and the even worse danger of sales of water to greedy corporations (read the latest frontline) makes this issue moot.