ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NARMADA-What Now

NARMADA-What Now

What Now? THE World Bank's decision to review the Narmada project before releasing the second tranche of the promised S 450 million loan is a measure of the success of the sustained campaign to expose the socially and economically unsustainable nature of this project. There can be no question today that the benefits of the project will not accrue equitably and if anything it will aggravate the grave social, economic and cultural disparity in that part of the country. However, it is equally obvious that the World Bank's decision is hardly a prelude to rethink on the entire question of the feasibility of the dam. At best it is a reprieve. Given this, Chiman- bhai Paters tirade against the World Bank and the report of the Morse Commission and his grandiose alternative plans for raising the finances required to complete the Sardar Sarovar project are expected and necessary gestures in the unfolding drama of appearing to incorporate people's demands without essentially affecting the objectives of the project. For, after all, if the World Bank were indeed to decide in April that the project needs to be scaled down, it would be impossible for Patel and the government of India to go ahead with the project no matter what alternative financial arrangements can be made, for the simple and unpalatable reason that the World Bank's opinion on the matter will hold sway in ail quarters.

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