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Narmada water on Wednesday finally reached Aji-I dam as irrigation department continued to pump water from Machhu-I dam trough SAUNI pipeline for the third consecutive day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to formally welcome the Narmada water to Rajkot on June 29.
After overflowing six dams along its course from Tramba village, around 16-kilometres away from the city, Narmada water finally merged with the dead water of Aji-I dam at around 11:30 am on Wednesday. Rajkot mayor Jaiman Upadhyay, former minister and local MLA Govind Parmar and other BJP leaders went to the dam site to see Narmada water flowing in the Aji-I dam, a major source of drinking water for the city.
“The water has finally hit the bed of the Aji-I dam and started merging with the dead water. We have dug a special channel so that Narmada water doesn’t spread on the bed of the dam right now and directly merges with dead water. As the level of the water will rise, water will start spreading on the bed of the dam,” said an engineer of Rajkot irrigation circle.
Incidentally, the Narmada water had started flowing in Aji river from an escape structure in the pipeline of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojna on Monday morning. The department has been pumping 9,650 cubic metre of water per hour from Machhu-I dam near Wankaner in Morbi district to Tramba escape since then. At this rate, around seven lakh cubic metre of water has been pumped towards Aji dam. However, there are six check-dams and some stone quarries in the stretch of Aji river from Tramba to Aji-I dam and therefore, the water could only hit the dam three days later.
Machhu-dam gets Narmada water from Dholi Dhaja dam near Surendranagar and Dholi Dhaja dam is in turn fed by Saurashtra Branch Canal of Narmada project.
“We shall continue pumping water at this rate further till there is another government order. We have no order as of now to pump water till PM arrives on June 29 or stop it after he leaves,” added the engineer.
SAUNI is an ambitious project of the state government to divert one million acre feet of floodwaters of Narmada dam to 115 reservoirs of Saurashtra through an extensive network of pipelines and augment irrigation facilities in the semi-arid region. The project is also aimed at easing shortage of drinking water that the region faces almost every summer. The irrigation department has laid 31-km-long pipeline of three metre diametre in seven months at the cost of Rs380 crore.