Congress leaders Kunvarji Bavaliya and Indranil Rajyaguru criticised events planned for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city on June 29 alleging the authorities had gone on an overdrive to spend public money in organising events for formally welcoming Narmada water to Aji-I dam. Bavaliya, the former MP from Rajkot and Rajyaguru, the sitting Congress MLA from Rajkot (east) constituency held a press conference and claimed that authorities were spending more money in setting up domes and organising public entertainment events than the aid to be given away to Divyangs at the hands of the PM. “We welcome the fact that Narmada river has reached Aji dam. But the claim that Congress governments did nothing about the dam is mischievous. In fact, it was Congress governments which planned the dam and did 95 per cent of work of its construction. Now, the BJP will have to answer public how much will this water cost to residents of Rajkot, what will be cost of pumping it to Aji dam. Not only this, entire administration has been engaged in making preparations for PM visit. It is working like machinery of BJP as it is busy planning the road show while completely ignoring work of people for the past few weeks,” Bavaliya said.
The Congress leaders claimed that the cost of setting up domes on Race Course ground and at Aji dam and relevant other preparations far exceeded the amount of aid to be given away to Divyangs by Modi. Incidentally, Rajkot Municipal Corporation has planned to organised three mega events of traditional Gujarati folk music, one musical night a major show of fireworks in the run up to the Modi’s visit to the city to formally welcome Narmada water into Aji dam. These events have been going on since Wednesday.
The irrigation department has been pumping Narmada water to Aji-I dam through pipeline of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana since Monday. SAUNI project is aimed at augmenting irrigation facilities in Saurashtra by diverting floodwaters of Narmada to 115 days in Saurashtra region. The project is also expected to strengthen network of drinking water supply in the region. Aji-I dam is a major source of drinking water for Rajkot city but it last overflowed in 2013.