August 18, 2005

Arundhati Roy - Narmada Bacho Andolan

Thanks to Abi! I read one powerhouse of a book.
The Greater Common Good
And Thanks to OutLook , I'm able to share the Essay on whats happening in Narmada.
(Inadvertently, I have stumbled on the links to her other writings too...Need to catch upon with those)

The Essay gave me a different and a rather moving perspective of Dams, Narmada & Tribals.

Few Insights:

" India has 3,600 big dams—they have devoured 50 million people already. Silently. Now it's the turn of the Narmada."

"India lives in her villages, we're told, in every other sanctimonious public speech. That's bullshit, just a fig leaf. India dies in her villages."

"The Bargi dam cost 10 times the budget, submerged three times more land, and irrigates only 5 per cent of the area planners claimed it would."

"Between 1947 and 1994 the World Bank received 6,000 applications for loans from around the world. They didn’t turn down a single one. Not a single one. Terms like 'Moving money' and 'Meeting loan targets' suddenly begin to make sense."

"Time and again, it's the same story—the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation II scheme claimed it would displace 63,000 people. When completed, it displaced 150,000 people. The Gujarat Medium Irrigation II scheme displaced 140,000 people instead of 63,600. The revised estimate of the number of people to be displaced by the Upper Krishna irrigation project in Karnataka is 240,000 against its initial claims of displacing only 20,000.

These are World Bank figures. Not the NBA's. Imagine what this does to our conservative estimate of 33 million."

"Day by day, river by river, forest by forest, mountain by mountain, missile by missile, bomb by bomb—almost without our knowing it, we are being broken.

Big Dams are to a Nation's 'Development' what Nuclear Bombs are to its Military Arsenal. They're both weapons of mass destruction. They're both weapons governments use to control their own people. Both Twentieth Century emblems that mark a point in time when human intelligence has outstripped its own instinct for survival. They're both malignant indications of civilisation turning upon itself. They represent the severing of the link, not just the link-the understanding-between human beings and the planet they live on. They scramble the intelligence that connects eggs to hens, milk to cows, food to forests, water to rivers, air to life and the earth to human existence."

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