Facing land acquisition hurdles in completing the 74,000 kilometre-long Narmada canal network,the Gujarat government is now exploring options to lay pipelines to complete the last mile connectivity in taking the Narmada waters to farmers in the state. We are now finding it very difficult to acquire land from farmers,especially to lay the sub-minor canals that will take the waters to the farms. Farmers are not too keen to part away with their land,So we are now thinking of laying underground pipelines that will do away with the necessity of acquiring land, said a senior official of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL),a wholly-owned Government of Gujarat undertaking that is implementing the project.
In the last three years alone,SSNNL has acquired 13,000 hectares from 86,500 farmers in Gujarat. However,land acquisitions are fast becoming difficult,especially to complete the 48,000 kilometre of sub-minor canals.
According to state government figures,only 10,000 kilometre (or 21%) of the sub-minor canal network has been complete so far,which has prevented Narmada waters from reaching lakhs of farmers in the state. Laying underground pipelines will ensure that the water reaches the field. Plus,the farmer can till his land as he used to do earlier, the official said,adding that land acquisition for canals was turning out to be one of the major hurdles for the canal network project. He,however,refused to put a number to the cases of acquisition where the government was facing opposition from the farmers.