The Devendra Pandey Committee in its third interim report to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has indicted the Madhya Pradesh government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) for non-compliance especially on the Command Area Development (CAD) Planning.
The MoEF, based on the findings of the report, has sent a special letter to State NVDA Vice ChairmanO. P. Rawat to submit its comments, if any, within four weeks.
Blaming the State Government, the report states that by submitting only the draft report on CAD plan for Indira Sagar Project (ISP) and a brief interim report on Omkareshwar Project (OSP), the State Government has submitted not CAD plans but 'expression of interest'.
The report states that the "plans" can not be approved and no further construction at the cost of environment should be permitted till compliance on prerequisites is obtained.
The report was submitted after the Supreme Court order dated February 25, which stated that the canal work could proceed only with approval by the Devendra Pandey Committee and the MoEF. It had granted maximum of six week time to Pandey Committee and four weeks to MoEF.
The report clearly brings out that while no plan was submitted for Indira Sagar, only a brief interim report on CAD for left bank canal is ready and submitted.
The report further brings out that almost 60 per cent of ISP command area is likely to face the danger of water logging and questions the very high water efficiency of 80 per cent (as against less than 40 per cent as the national average) presumed without any supporting data.
Calling such lack of planning, with the wanton proliferation of new projects, the biggest single malady in the major and medium irrigation sector, the Pandey Committee has disapproved the fact that there was still a tendency to restrict focus of CAD plan.
The report concludes by stating that the "Committee does not consider the draft command area development plans for Omkareshwar and ISP, submitted to the MoEF by M.P. in October 2009, as adequate in terms of conditions laid down as part of the environment clearance, and the subsequent stipulations by the MoEF and the Narmada Control Authority Environmental Sub Group".
It further states that "these plans detail only some of the engineering aspects of the CAD activity...the impact of construction of canal is not provided in the plan and therefore the committee could not assess the impacts of construction on environment such as loss of biodiversity, noise, water and air pollution etc. Therefore, these plans are incomplete and can not be approved."