Alternatives to the Narmada Valley Project
The Narmada Valley Development Project has been envisaged to seemingly address a wide array of needs like provision of electricity, irrigation, provision of drinking water. However, over the years, it has become very clear that this developmental approach is unjust, and further, also unviable in the long run. There is a dire need to look at alternatives. The burden of exploring alternatives rightly lies with the proponents of the project. However, as with so many other aspects of this project, the onus of proposing alternatives has been put on the shoulders of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, while they are fighting for survival, fighting against unjust displacement. This is a patently unjust demand. Injustice has to be opposed and stopped on its own, with or without alternatives.
Rightly so, the fight of the Narmada Bachao Andolan against the Sardar Sarovar Project for the last 15 years has been the immediate and more visible goal of the struggle. But, the struggle from its very outset has been rooted in a vision for a society based on equity, self-reliance and simple living. Thus, Sangharsh aur Navnirman (Struggle and Reconstruction) have been two essential components of the Andolan from the very beginning.
On this page, we will attempt to document various alternative proposals to address the different problems: electricity, irrigation, and drinking water. Some of these proposals have been initiated by the NBA, some others have been put forward by friends of the NBA, and there are others that have been proposed, and have been successfully adopted by other groups and organizations across the country. Some of these proposals like water harvesting have been successfully practiced in Rajasthan and even in Gujarat.
Please join us in this quest in researching and documenting alternatives. As friends and supporters of the struggle, we have to start building a case to show that the dominant development path being practised today (the SSP being the prime icon of that path) need not be the path of the future.
Proposals and documents outlining alternatives
Revisiting the Alternative Restructuring of Sardar Sarovar:
S. Paranjape & K. J. Joy
Water Harvesting: Alternatives to Large Dams
Narmada Jeevan Shalas : Reconstruction through tribal education
The Bilgaon model: micro hydel and indigenous primary education in the
Narmada valley Lyla Bavadam
Images from the Bilgaon microhydel project in the Narmada valley
First Ever Micro Hydel Project in Narmada Valley to Start On August 15th,
As a Part of the Struggle Against Mega-dams
NBA Press Release; August 14, 2000
Domkhedi Hamlet Self Sufficient in Electricity
NBA Press Release; August 16, 2000
Towards an Efficient and Low Cost Power Sector:
HTML file (110 KB);
Word Doc file (81 KB)
September 1998; Prepared by Girish Sant and Shantanu Dixit, PRAYAS, for the Narmada Valley Task Force appointed by the Government of M.P.
- A brief report of the task force constituted to search for alternatives of master resources development of Narmada Valley Development
Towards A Vision of a Just and Sustainable Development of the Narmada Valley:
Word Doc file
(This document was prepared by the Narmada Bachao Andolan in June 1996)
Towards an Energy Self-Sufficient Village: Energy Survey for Village Sulgaon
HTML file (135 KB),
Word Doc file (86 KB)
"Sardar Sarovar: Will the Courts Advise Study of Alternatives?":
A report on a meeting in Delhi that examined alternatives to Sardar Sarovar in
Sustainable farming and irrigation:
Bhaskar Save's letter to the Planning Commission on the SSP, September 1993
Articles and press releases about alternatives
- This river is our river: Humanscape, March 2002
- The quest for alternatives in the Narmada valley: Humanscape, February 2000
- "A drop of water, Sir" - An interview with Nafisaben Barot of Utthan, Gujarat
- Water Harvesting - Silent Crusaders - Good News India
- Kiss of life for mother earth - The Week, December 1998
- The Drought, the State, and the People; An Experience in Gujarat, 2000 A Dossier by SANDRP (South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People)