Saturday, June 19, 2010

Editorial, "BIG 'NO' TO BIG DAMS", in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15-31 May 2010 combined issue:


and especially protests against the Polavaram Project should be constantly and explosively dinned into the ears of our rulers by people in their millions – cutting across class, caste, region and party lines – for protecting environment, averting manmade calamities and achieving sustainable development. Shocking facts that almost the entire historic temple-town of Bhadrachalam (once part of Godavari district but since 1959 of Khammam district) – perhaps the sanctum sanctorum too – would be submerged and lakhs of people would be displaced and deprived have been recently focused by TV9. Way back we had editorially alerted (see 31 December 2005 LAW) thus: In a predominantly agricultural setting, the demand for water for cultivation is imperative and the AP Government seems to be bent on anyhow catering to it. But then, one cannot overlook several other salient factors which enter into and upset the delicate balance between nature and mankind. Also to appease the demands of a section of the people, another section – though tiny in numbers – cannot be made the sacrificial goat. However, what is happening regarding the Polavaram Dam today is exactly the same thing – about 275 villages would be completely submerged and more than one lakh tribals uprooted and displaced from their centuries’ old homelands – with possible extinction due to un-adaptability factors... Nowadays the world over new thinking is prevailing regarding water management systems and people are weary of big dams, which were earlier the synonym for progress. In contrast people see irreparable eco-damage and human tragedies attending and resulting from such big ventures. …Where a series of barrages and lift irrigation schemes could serve the purpose without such immense ethnic and cultural tragedies accompanying, there is absolutely no justification for any such mega schemes.” Subsequently, we find several eminent scholars have substantially confirmed our fears, approved our suggestions and proposed an alternative, more beneficial, submergence-free barrages system which merits due consideration (see the book ‘Perspectives on Polavaram’). In any case now we all should strive to at once stall this calamitous project ♦♦♦