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Project to link Tapi, Par, Narmada opposed by tribals in South Gujarat

  • Published
    12th Mar, 2022
Context

Tribals in South Gujarat took out a rally in Vaghai taluka of Dang district in protest against the Centre’s Tapi-Par-Narmada link project fearing displacement from their homes and farmlands.

About

About Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project

  • The projects envisage a transfer of surplus water of rivers in Maharashtra and south Gujarat to feed the command area of the Miyagam branch of the Narmada canal.
    • It will save water in the Narmada dam, which will be taken to Saurashtra and Kutch.
  • The project is aimed at diverting “surplus” water from parts of west-flowing rivers like the Par, the Nar, the Ambika and the Auranga basins in Maharashtra.
  • Besides providing irrigation benefits to the enroute command and Narmada command, the link will generate hydropower of the order of 93.00 Mkwh through the powerhouses installed at four dam sites viz. Jheri, Paikhed, Chasmandva and Chikkar and in two feeder canals taking off from Dabdar and Kelwan dams. 
    • The reservoirs will also provide flood relief to the people residing in downstream areas.
  • The project of the Par-Tapi-Narmada link generally falls in the state of Gujarat except for the Jheri reservoir which falls in Maharashtra state. 
    • Jheri dam is located in the Nasik district of Maharashtra while remaining dams viz. Mohankavchali, Paikhed, Chasmandva, Chikkar, Dabdar, and Kelwan dams are located in the Valsad and Dang districts of Gujarat.
  • Five rivers are to be linked for this project.
  • It is a combination of a lift irrigation scheme, tunnels and canals.
  • The State has taken Israel’s assistance to help solve the region’s water crisis. 
    • Israel is considered to be an expert in water planning.

Protests against the project

  • Protests have started in the tribal-dominated districts of Dang, Tapi, and Valsad against the interlinking of the Par-Tapi-Narmada river basins in Gujarat and Maharashtra. 
  • They are opposing the project because tribals will lose their land. 
  • Tribals settled along the river bank have developed the forest land allotted to them into agricultural farms by incurring substantial expenditure. 
  • With the construction of the reservoirs, their farmland will be submerged and they will lose their income. 
  • It will also result in their

Benefits of River Interlinking

  • Interlinking rivers is a way to transfer excess water from the regions which receive a lot of rainfall to the areas that are drought-prone. 
    • This way, it can control both floods and droughts.
  • This will also help solve the water crisis in many parts of the country. 
  • The project will also help in hydropower generation.
    • This project envisages the building of many dams and reservoirs. This can generate about 34000 MW of electricity if the whole project is executed.
  • The project will help in dry weather flow augmentation. 
    • That is when there is a dry season, surplus water stored in the reservoirs can be released.
    • This will enable a minimum amount of water flow in the rivers. This will greatly help in the control of pollution, in navigation, forests, fisheries, wildlife protection, etc.
  • Indian agriculture is primarily monsoon-dependent. This leads to problems in agricultural output when the monsoons behave unexpectedly. 
    • This can be solved when irrigation facilities improve. The project will provide irrigation facilities in water-deficient places.
  • The project will also help commercially because of the betterment of the inland waterways transport system.
    • Moreover, the rural areas will have an alternate source of income in the form of fish farming, etc.
  • The project will also augment the defence and security of the country through the additional waterline defence.
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