Updated: December 29, 2015 4:15:17 am
The expert committee on command area development of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project had preferred sub-minor canals over underground pipeline as those would have supplied irrigation water to more farmers.
According to B N Navalawala-headed panel report, the irrigation benefit from sub-minor canals would go to more than one village. In case of the UGPL (underground pipeline) system, due to non-cooperation between upstream and downstream farmers, the residents of one village might try to choke the pipeline going to other village by putting debris, stones and soil, the panel had apprehended, stating that it would be difficult for the project staff to identify such locations and do remedial work.
So far, of 48,058 km sub-minor canals, work on 10,216.92 km has been completed.
The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project is one of the largest projects of the Gujarat government and it has defined political priorities in the state. When Narendra Modi was the chief minister, raising of the Sardar Sarovar Dam height from 121.92 metre to 138.68 metre was one of the major issues in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After NDA’s victory and Modi’s elevation as Prime Minister, the Narmada Control Authority in New Delhi on June 12, 2014, granted permission to increase height of the dam height.
The Navalawala committee also studied the performance of UGPL in other projects in Gujarat like Ukai-Kakrapar Right Bank Canal System, Karjan Reservoir Project, Sipu Reservoir Project, Watrak Reservoir Project, Mazam Reservoir Project and Guhai Reservoir Project. It said that the performance of UGPL in the existing projects was not encouraging because “the UGPL system off-takes from the open channel which carries lot of silt and debris, which ultimately chokes the pipeline. The sluice valves get damaged and the brass-rods are taken away which make it difficult to regulate the flow and ultimately this leads the farmers to break the pressure chamber as well as pipeline to take water to their fields”.
According to the Committee, velocity of the water inside UGPL should be 0.5 m/second to 1.2 m/second. If such velocity is not attainable, then it requires pumping which will escalate the total cost of the project.
Besides CM’s adviser on water Navalawala, the panel comprised R G Kulkarni, former secretary (water resources department), Maharashtra, N B Desai, former secretary (Narmada), B J Parmar, former secretary (Irrigation), A S Kapoor, former chairman of Indira Gandhi Naher Board (Rajasthan), K S Srinivas, the then director (Civil), SSNNL and O T Gulati, the then chief engineer (Panchayat) & additional secretary of Narmada, water resources, water supply & Kalpsar.
A group of four other experts were also invited by the panel who voted for sub-minor canals.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.