AIR spotlight summary on “Prime Minister launches Irrigation & Drinking Water Supply Projects in Gujarat”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the water supply and irrigation projects worth of 4800 crore rupees in Gujarat at Limkheda in tribal district of Dahod. Mr. Modi has also handed over the forest land titles to the tribal people of Dahod and adjoining districts.
- Prime minister inaugurated six water supply projects worth 1757 crore rupees and four lift irrigation projects worth another 2,000 crore rupees are under the Gujarat Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna.
- The six water supply projects will provide drinking water to about 21-lakh people residing in 960 villages including 23 settlements in Dahod, Mahisagar, Narmada and Chhota Udepur districts. Similarly, the four lift irrigation projects based on Kadana- Karjan and Kakrapar Reservoirs will provide irrigation in 97,455 hectares of land in Dahod, Narmada, Mahisagar and Surat districts.
- Dahod district alone will get benefits for lift irrigation projects worth 1055 crore rupees from Kadana Reservoir and drinking water projects worth Rs.890 crore from the Narmada based Hafeshwar.
- These initiatives will have a great impact in Saurashtra region and the people of the region will benefit at large. Drought is the major problem and in the past 3 years there had been hardly any rain in the area.
- There are big industries in Saurashtra region, agriculture has done extraordinarily well. If there is a proper water supply then the farmers can do much better. Prime minister had inaugurated first phase of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran for Irrigation) project in which nearly 10 dams and reservoirs of Rajkot, Jamnagar and Morbi would be filled up with the water of Narmada River
- Saurashtra and Kutch have traditionally been areas which have faced water scarcity and now steps are being taken by the government to make water available to the people.
- The problem in India is that there is excess water supply during monsoon season and in many areas it remains selective.
- Narmada is the key to the lifeline of Gujarat like Ganges is in north India. The important point is that the surplus water of Narmada is to be used till the last drop and there by the problem of water scarcity can be solved in the context of the drought areas in the region.
- The recent Mihir Shah report to the government on the restructuring of central water commission wherein there should be piped water supply to the irrigation fields. There is also a problem with silting where projects like Narmada will have to face like Bhakra is facing today.
- Piped irrigation is a good idea because in the context of the extreme heat, lot of water can be preserved. The question is the availability of water in the river basin and the preserving of surplus water during the time of monsoon.
- Pradhan Mantri krishi sinchai yojana has been renewed and more funds are allocated to it and NABARD has got a corpus of 20,000 crore. This is to see that more hectares come under irrigation in the next two years. The country suffers from lack of irrigation and we have got 60 % farmers in rain fed area.
- The projects are being expedited wherever possible, micro planning is also taking place and there is an equal emphasis on water conservation.
- Rain water harvesting and increasing use of solar power can save lot of water. What is required is a comprehensive planning and awareness to the people that water is a precious commodity. It is said in the context of west Asia that the next war may not be over oil, but over water. India must never face such a kind of a situation.
Initiatives for Disables Persons
- In another program, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will distribute Aids and Assistive Devices to the persons with Disabilities at Samajik Adhikarita Shivir at Navsari in South Gujarat. More than 11,000 people were provided free-of-cost assistive equipment worth Rs 10 crore.
- This camp also holds the prospect of entering the ‘Guinness Book World Records’ in three categories namely most people fitted with hearing aid in eight hours, largest wheelchair logo image and most oil lamps lit simultaneously at single venue.
- The aim of the programme is to provide opportunities for the growth and development of differently-abled persons so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives. These initiatives will broaden the base and incorporate more disabled people into the main stream and making them self reliant.
- The modern civilisation is all about caring for Tribal development and taking care of disabled and these are the important areas of a welfare state.
- People’s participation has to be at the centre of the decentralised planning which is a bottom up approach. We see this is yet to be developed in a big way in terms of water conservation, rejuvenation, bringing back to life the old projects, and the rain water harvesting.
- People’s participation must have at most priority and localised efforts are needed in the context of the world where we should “Think globally but act locally”.