Two days after Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and other activists were detained on their way to join a protest by Narmada dam-affected people, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday termed them “opponents of Gujarat” and asserted that the dam project would “certainly be completed”.
“(The) opponents of Gujarat have launched a number of agitations to block the Narmada project but the state has marched ahead, tackling them. Gujarat will not bow down, nor will it halt. The Narmada project will certainly be completed, floodgates will be installed, the dam will be filled to its capacity and the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to take the river water to the last village will be fulfilled,” the CM said after inaugurating the phase-I of link-IV of Saurashtra-Narmada Avataran Irrigation (Sauni) Yojana here.
The CM dedicated the link to the public by formally diverting Narmada water to Sartanpar minor irrigation scheme at Ankadiya village of Vinchhiya taluka, around 30 km from Jasdan.
He alleged that NBA’s protests were aimed at preventing the development of Gujarat. “Opponents of Gujarat, including Medha Patkar, have put in lots of efforts to stall the Narmada project and prevent Gujarat from becoming prosperous,” Rupani told mediapersons. He accused them of telling lies. “Supreme Court itself is monitoring this (the rehabilitation). It has accepted our work as satisfactory.”
Sauni, an ambitious project of the government, is, however, not part of the Narmada project but based on it. Sauni Yojana envisages to divert one million acre feet of floodwaters of Narmada to Saurashtra via Narmada canal network and pump it to 115 reservoirs of the region through a network of 1,125-km-long network of giant pipelines.
He also took potshots at Congress saying it had been skeptical of the project. “They used to say that not water but only air will jet out of the pipelines. But now, we have brought water,” said Rupani.