Reacting to Chief Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the sluice gates over the Narmada dam could not be installed because the Congress-led UPA government did not give permission and this came in the way of farmers being supplied irrigation water, state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that Modi was misguiding the people on the issue.
Modi made the comments at a function at Khodaldham Temple in Rajkot on Tuesday. He attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for delaying the approval for installation of gates at Sardar Sarovar dam, and requested him to at least heed the demand of state Congress leaders on the same. “I congratulate Gujarat Congress leaders, who met Prime Minister on this issue. My question (to Prime Minister) is even if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to them (your leaders). At least, listen to your party leaders,” Modi said. “I urge PM, Gujarat Congress leaders to leave politics aside and give us permission to install gates on Sardar Sarovar Dam. For five years, this work has been pending,” he said, criticising the PM for being slow in decision-making. “I don’t know the reason why they are not allowing to install gates on the dam,” Modi said.
Speaking to mediapersons, Doshi said that Narmada water was not reaching farmers’ fields because Modi had not completed minor canals to carry Narmada water during his 12- year rule. “Over 80 per cent of minor canals are yet to be built,” Doshi said, doling out figures from a government publication.
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“Because of the non-completion of minor canals, excess of Narmada water, released from hydro-power plants at the dam site, is released into the sea and is wasted,” Doshi, a civil engineer, told reporters. “Modi should first complete the minor canals and then go for installation of the gates if he really wants the farmers to benefit from Narmada water,” he said.