CHIEF MINISTER Vijay Rupani on Saturday claimed that the ongoing Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan was the biggest water conservation drive of the country and that it will help tackle shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes in Gujarat. “During the month-long Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan, 1,300 small and large reservoirs will be desilted and 34 rivers will be cleaned. Irrigation canals with the total length of 5,000 km will also be spruced up and air valves in the 5,000-km-long pipeline network of the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board will be repaired. People of the state are taking part in this drive whole-heartedly. Arguably, this is the biggest water conservation drive in the county,” a release from the state information department quoted Rupani as saying.
The CM addressed a public meeting before the process to desilt a small pond began on the outskirts of the city on Saturday. The pond is located in Raiya area on Ring Road II and has been named Race Course II by the Rajkot Municipal Corporation. The civic body is developing the area as part of the Smart City Mission and has plans to develop the pond as a recreational and green space after desilting. The pond has submergence area of around 45 acres.
After the public meeting, Rupani symbolically broke the ground and joined people in desilting the pond. He also operated an excavator for a while to remove silt from the bed of the pond. The CM also named the pond after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and christened it Atal Sarovar. The government has deployed 40 excavators and 80 tractors to desilt and dig deep the pond. Officers said that the desilting and deepening of the bed will augment the storage capacity of the pond by around 400 million litres.
The Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan started on May 1 will continue throughout this month. The CM said that during the month-long drive, the government targets to remove 1,100 crore cubic metre of silt from beds of water bodies. This, he said, will significantly augment storage capacity of these reservoirs and help make the shortage of drinking and irrigation water a thing of the past in the state. Rupani added that in Rajkot district, 282 reservoirs will be desilted. The CM was joined by Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya, local MLAs of the BJP, Rajkot mayor Jaiman Upadhyay, among others, on the occasion.