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September 18th, 2003
The Damned
Debate: To Build or Not To Build?: Introduction

The building of the Sardar Sarovar Dam has sparked one of India’s largest controversies. While some criticize the dam for displacing local residents, others argue that the dam’s technological and economic impact will benefit both the Narmada Valley region and the nation as a whole. In this debate, we sent in nine questions from our online audience to two of the leading players in the Sardar Sarovar controversy: S.K. Mohapatra, of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., and Medha Patkar, an activist and founder of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, an organization that opposes the Sardar Sarovar dam’s construction.

PROS & CONS
PROS CONS
1 Generate electricity for millions of people.
2 Create many jobs during construction.
3 Provide power without pollution.
4 Modernize depressed regions.
1 Can displace thousands of people.
2 Jobs do not necessarily go to local residents.
3 Can harm fish stock, damage soil.
4 Can destroy cultural artifacts.

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