The Narmada River
The Narmada River is the only river in India that flows in a rift valley and flows in central India between North India and South India. Narmada river rising in Madhya Pradesh state that runs from east to west along with the Tapti River and the Mahi River. Narmada flows over a length of 1,312 km before draining through the Gulf of Cambey (Khambat) into the Arabian Sea, 30 km west of Bharuch city of Gujarat. The Narmada River has a huge water resources potential for agriculture and economy of the region. More than 90% of water flow occurs during the monsoon months of June to September.
The most sacred rivers of India are River Ganga (गंगा), River Yamuna (यमुना), Godavari River , Sarswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri, a dip in any of these rivers washes ones sins away..
The dams on Narmada river benefits the four Indian states Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan that include provision for drinking water, power generation and irrigation facilities.
Source of Narmada River
The source of the Narmada is a small tank called Narmada Kund located on the Amarkantak hill, in the Anuppur District of eastern Madhya Pradesh. From the Amarkantak hill range the river descends at the Kapildhara falls over a cliff and meanders in the hills flowing through the rocks and islands up to the ruined palace of Ramnagar.
Amarkantak Shiva temple
Amarkantak is 71 Kms. from Anupppur, an important railway junction of the South Eastern Central Railway. Amarkantak is at a distance of 320 Kms. from Jabalpur and 265 Kms. from Rewa by road and around 100 Kms. from Shahdol. The nearest railway station from Amarkantak is Pendra, which is 65 Kms. from Amarkantak. Pendra is in Bilaspur of Chhatisgarh
Narmada River in plains
The river rises on the summit of Amarkantak Hill in Madhya Pradesh state .It traverses the first 320 kilometres course around the Mandla Hills, which form the head of the Satpura Range; then moves towards Jabalpur passing through the `Marble Rocks`, it enters the Narmada Valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, and moves westwards towards the Gulf of Cambay. It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, and finally meets the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch District of Gujarat.
Narmada River flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh 1,077 km (669.2 miles), Maharashtra, 74 km (46.0 miles)), 35 km (21.7 miles) border between Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and 39 km (24.2 miles) border between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and in Gujarat 161 km (100.0 miles)).
Dams on Narmada River
In 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity 30 large dams was planned on river Narmada.The major dams on Narmada river are : Sardar Sarovar Dam, Maheshwar Dam, Maan Dam, Indira Sagar Dam, Bargi Dam and Goi Dam
Of the 30 big dams proposed along the Narmada, Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) and Narmada Sagar Project (NSP) are the megadams. The Maheshwar and Omkareshwar dams along with SSP and NSP, are to form a complex which would ultimately cater to the needs of SSP. Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is the largest multipurpose project involved in the construction, with a proposed height of 136.5 m, In February 1999, the Supreme Court of India gave the go ahead for the dam's height to be raised to 88 metres from the initial 80. In March 2006, despite popular protest, the Supreme Court gave clearance for the height to be increased to 121.92 metres.
Narmada Bachao Andolan
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a peoples organisation that mobilised tribal people, adivasis, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against the Sardar Sarovar Dam being built across the Narmada river, Gujarat. The Andolan (campaign) includes hunger strikes and garnering support from noted film and art personalities together with its leading spokespersons Medha Patkar and Baba Amte.
In 1985, after hearing about the Sardar Sarovar dam, Medha Patkar and her colleagues visited the project site and noticed the project work being shelved due to an order by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The reasons for this was cited as "non-fulfillment of basic environmental conditions and the lack of completion of crucial studies and plans". What she noticed was that the people who were going to be affected were given no information, but for the offer for rehabilitation.
Medha Patkar approached the Ministry of Environment to seek clarifications. She realized, after seeking answers from the ministry, that the project was not sanctioned at all, and wondered as to how funds were even sanctioned by the World Bank. Patkar quit her studies and focus entirely on the Narmada activity. Thereafter, she organized a 36-day long, solidarity march among the neighboring states of the Narmada valley from Madhya Pradesh to the Sardar Sarovar dam site.
Medha Patkar established Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in 1989, all other groups joined this national coalition of environmental and human rights activists, scientists, academics and project-affected people with a non-violent approach. Medha Patkar advised also World Bank to their propaganda. Using the right to fasting, she undertook a 22 day fast that almost took her life. In 1991, her actions led to an unprecedented independent review by the World Bank. The Morse Commission, appointed in June 1991 at the recommendation of The World Bank conducted its first independent review of a World Bank project. Due to the review of World Bank the Indian Government pulling out of its loan agreement with the World Bank.
In 1994, the Bachao Andolan office was attacked reportedly by a couple of political parties, where Patkar and other activists were physically assaulted and verbally abused. In protest, a few NBA activists and she began a fast and 20 days later, they were arrested and forcibly fed intravenously.Patkar led Narmada Bachao Andolan had filed a written petition with the Supreme Court of India seeking stoppage of construction on the Sardar Sarovar dam. The Supreme Court also deliberated on this issue further for several years but finally upheld the Tribunal Award and allowed the construction to proceed, subject to conditions.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) on 27 July 2011 suffered a set-back after the Supreme Court rejected its plea for land for the landless displaced by construction of a dam for providing irrigation facilities to farmers in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh. The NBA wanted dierction to the Madhya Pradesh government to allot two hectares of land to each of the ousted families as part of a relief andrehabilitation package for those affected by the Upper Veda Project on Veda river in the district.
The apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan in their judgment said that it did not find any "cogent reason" in the demand for allotment of agricultural land to the landless oustees affected by the submergence of the dam affected area. The court said that "contention is devoid of merit".
Speaking for the bench, Justice Chauhan said: "Neither it (land to landless oustees) had ever been contemplated nor it is compatible with the policy. Nor has such a land ever been allotted to this class of persons. The contention is hereby rejected."
The river has been mentioned by Ptolemy in the Second century AD as Namade. There are several references of Narmada in the Ramayana, the Mahabharat and Puranas. The Rewa Khand of Vayu Purana and the Rewa Khand of Skanda Purana are entirely devoted to the story of the birth and the importance of the river Narmada. Legends also mention that the Narmada River is older than the river Ganga.
Narmada in Hindu religion
The Narmada river is one of the most sacred holy rivers of India among Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri. Every Hindu belives that a dip in any of these five rivers washes their sins, Narmada is said to be the daughter of Lord Shiva (शिव).
All along the course of the Narmda river, starting with its origin at Narmadakhund at Amarkantak hill largest Shiva temples in India are located. The famous temples of Lord Sjiva on narmada river are the Amarkantak or Teerathraj, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Sulpaneswar, Narmdeswar, Khumbeswar, Hanumanteswar, Sukrewsar, Mandveswar, Dasameswar, Kubereswar, Vaysewar, Adeteswar, Hayeswar and Chamundikund - all named after Shiva.
Other famous temples are Chausath Yogini (sixty four yoginis) temple, Chaubis Avatar temple, Bhojpur Shiva temple and Bhrigu Rishi temple in Bharuch.
There are many fables about the origin of the Narmada. According to one of them, once Lord Shiva, the Destroyer of the Universe, meditated so hard that he started perspiring. Shiva's sweat accumulated in a tank and started flowing in the form of a river - the Narmada. onomy
The valleys of River Narmada are very important for the economically development of the region. There are various handicraft works and other small-scale industries along the Narmada. The dams on Narmada river benefits include provision drinking water, power generation and irrigation facilities. The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) final order determined the utilizable quantum of Narmada waters to be 27,000,000 acre feet (3.3×1010 m3) at 75% dependability and allocated it to the four states as
Party States Allocated share of water % share of power
Madhya Pradesh 18,250,000 acre feet (22.51 km3) 57
Gujarat 9,000,000 acre feet (11 km3) 16
Maharashtra 250,000 acre feet (0.31 km3) 27
Rajasthan 500,000 acre feet (0.62 km3) Nil
Total 28,000,000 acre feet (35 km3) 100
The Gujarat governments promises of irrigating 1.845 million hectares of land covering 3,112 villages of 73 talukas through Sardar Sarovar Project. At least three Gujarat districts, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, where even rural parts have started receiving Narmada canal water under the SSP project after 2005, have boosted net sowing area
leading to increase in crop production and crop yield.
The lower Narmada River Valley and the surrounding uplands, covering an area of 65,598.8 sq miles consists of dry deciduous forests. The ecoregion is home to 76 species of mammals and to 276 bird species none of which are endemic. Some of the important national parks and wild life sanctuaries in the valley are:
Kanha National Park: This park is located in the upper reaches of Narmada, about 18 km from Mandla, This park is the home of several wild animals including the Tiger. It is one of the best National Parks of Asia,. Satpura National Park: This park set up in 1981, is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. Its covers an area of 524 Sq.km. Satpura National Park, being part of a unique ecosystem, is very rich in biodiversity. The fauna comprises tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, bhedki, nilgai, four-horned antelope, chinkara, bison (gour), wild boar, wild dog, bear, black buck, fox, porcupine, flying squirrel, mouse deer, Indian joint squirrel etc. The flora of the national park consists of mainly sal, teak, tendu, aonla, mahua, bel, bamboo, and a variety of grasses and medicinal plants.
Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Dindori National fossils park Ghughuya is situated in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve covers a wide spectrum of floral and faunal features that occupy the Satpura conservation area. It is one of the oldest forest reserves, which has an established tradition of scientific management of forests.
There are also natural preserves such as the Amarkantak, the Bagh Caves and the Bhedaghat. Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary in Gujarat, near the Sardar Sraovar dam site, previously called the Dumkal Sloth Bear Sanctuary covers an area of about 607 sq.km. It is the habitat of mammals and a variety of birds, including eagles and hawks. The anthropological sites along River Narmada not only serve for the historians interest but also the tourists. The extensive caves of Bhimbhetka are located in a dyke structure of the Narmada valley at about 45 km northeast of Bhopal.
Narmada river development
The Narmada river development or NRD are the policies and rules to keep the banks of the river clean and developed. The Narmada River features huge resources and potential for the development of the region. The Narmada river development was designed to keep the banks and water of the river clean and usable for resource needs.
The people of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh received an apt gift on the World Environment Day 2011 on June 5, 2011 supplies from the Narmada river that is supposed to end their water woes. The Narmada water project has been prepared to cater to the water needs of Bhopal in 2037 when its estimated population would be 36 lakh.
A stretch on National Highway No. 8 between Vadodara and Surat, known as the country's busiest road, will soon have five-hectare park near Bharuch on the banks of Narmada. The project has been funded by tourism department and the Bharuch district planning board. Local MLAs and MPs also have contributed to the project on November 14, 2011 which will cost Rs 2.62 crore.
Tributaries of River Narmada
The tributaries of River Narmada are Hallon, Banjar, Barna and Tawa are the main source of water, irrigation and other resource based activities in the central India.
In an effort to keep the Narmada pollution-free, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to launch a novel bio-health monitoring programme, wherein species that feed on pollutants will be introduced in the river. The programme, initiated by Madhya Pradesh's Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), will also include frequent assessments of the health of Narmada river over a period of time.
"The concept is based on the age-old practice of 'Benthic Invertebrate Population' which was earlier found in plenty in healthy rivers, but these days due to growing pollution, it has become a rare thing," NVDA Vice Chairman O P Rawat told PTI on February 24, 2012. Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to introduce this natural way of keeping rivers healthy, he said. Benthic invertebrates are those species which feed on and convert pollutants present in the rivers into food for aquatic animals, thus helping keep the river healthy in a natural manner, he explained.
The latest report of Central Pollution Control Board in August 2011 says that amongst India's 10 major Indian rivers, water of Narmada is not only the cleanest but even fit for drinking. The bacteria count in Narmada is the lowest in comparison to other major rivers. River Yamuna (यमुना) has emerged as the most polluted river in the country in the study. The primary reason for the purity of Narmada water is said to be the absence of any major industries along the river bank. The river also does not have to support large population, saving it from man-made pollution.
According to the NBA, the Maheshwar Dam project was privatised in 1992 and handed over to the S. Kumars group will submerge the lands and homes of 50,000 to 70,000 peasants, fishermen and landless workers in 61 villages. The Environment Ministry has issued a show cause notice on February 18, 2010 to the company building the Maheshwar Dam in the Narmada Valley after hundreds of affected people marched to the Ministry demanding rehabilitation.
The Gujarat government is bent on blowing up billions of rupees for building the world's tallest statue, a 182-metre memorial for Gujarat-born Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, near the gigantic Narmada dam. The imposing "Statue of Unity" double the height of the "Statue of Liberty" in New York to come up midstream on an islet 3.5km from the Narmada dam was estimated to cost Rs10 billion.