February 26, 2009 1:40:01 am
Chief Minister Narendra Modi often complains that the Centre has been ignoring Gujarat in terms of extending assistance to the state. However,Parimal Nathwani,Rajya Sabha member from Jharkhand,thinks otherwise. He says the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP),the lifeline of Gujarat,has received over Rs 5,375 crore worth of Central assistance so far,which by far the highest in the country.
Nathwani,who belongs to Gujarat and is associated with the Reliance Group headed by Mukesh Ambani,was given this information by Minister of State for Water Resources Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav in response to a question raised by him in the Rajya Sabha.
The minister informed him that the SSP was eligible for 90 per cent Central grant for the irrigation component of the project falling under drought prone and tribal areas.
The aid,according to Nathwani,was provided to the project under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP).
Through his question,Nathwani wanted to know whether or not the Central government declared 14 river projects as national projects on February 7,2008,and if so,why was Narmada not included in the same and what the criteria for declaring national projects were.
Yadav,in his reply,said the government had declared all 14 projects as national projects.
According to state government sources,a total of Rs 26,985 crore has been invested in the project till November 2008. With the dams height reaching 121.92 metres,a total storage of 5,700 crore cubic feet of water has been made available for irrigation,drinking,industries and generation of hydro electricity.
However,poor command area development has led to the irrigation of merely 87,000 hectares of land,as against the potential of 9 lakh hectares with the current dam height.
Work on further raising the height of the dam has been stopped with the Narmada Control Authority refusing to give permission due to failure of the beneficiary states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to resettle the project affected families in their respective areas.
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