Updated: January 31, 2021 8:05:42 pm
SIXTY-FIVE COOPERATIVE societies providing lift irrigation facilities to farmers in the Saurashtra region have come together and formed a federation, Gujarat Rajya Udvahan Piyat Sahakari Sangh Limited (GRUPSS) or Gujarat State Lift Irrigation Cooperative Federation Limited and formally elected Devshi Savsani, a farmer leader from Morbi distict as the founding chairman of the federation on Sunday.
On Sunday, chairmen of lift irrigation cooperative societies of Rajkot, Surendranagar, Morbi, Jamnagar, and Amreli districts attended a meeting in Rajkot where Devshi Savsani, a farmers’ leader from Morbi district who is leading Shree Rohishala Sinchai Seva Sahkari Mandali Limite, was elected the federation’s founding chairman unopposed.
In 2005, Savsani had started the cooperative movement for lift irrigation in the state by founding Shree Rohishala Sinchai Seva Sahkari Mandali Limited to provide irrigation facilities to farmers of Rohishala village in Tankara taluka of Morbi by lifting water from Aji River.
“This is a ‘by the farmer and for the farmer’ movement in cooperation with the state government. Our member cooperative societies are getting round-the-clock power supply and a one-time grant from the state government for creating infrastructure, like building a check-dam or drilling tube-wells, installing pumps and pipelines for lifting water from a source and supplying it to farmers for irrigating their crops. Since the foundation of the Rohishala cooperative in 2005, the number of such cooperatives has gone up to 125 and the state government has sanctioned 250 more. To ensure coordination and create a common platform for these cooperatives, we have formed the GRUPSS,” Savsani told The Indian Express.
The farmers’ leader, who hails from Rohishala village, said the federation would amplify voices and demands of member cooperatives. “So far, individual cooperatives were making isolated efforts. While the government has been supporting them, it was of the view that a federation of such cooperative societies can aid the process and, therefore, we got the GRUPSS registered on January 11,” said Savsani, who is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The Rohishala cooperative society has built a check-dam across Aji river downstream Aji-II dam and lifts water from the river and pumps it to agricultural farms in Rohishala, Dahisarda, Ukarda, Neknam, Sagpar and Adbalka villages.
“The state government had allotted Rs 1.82 crore for our lift irrigation scheme on the condition that we will contribute the remaining 10 per cent. However, we complete the project with Rs 1.62 crore only and today, we have 47,500-foot-long network of pipelines to supply irrigation water to farmers round-the-clock in around 1000 hectare,” Savsani said.
Besides the cooperatives in the five districts of Saurashtra, farmers have also formed lift irrigation cooperatives in Sabarkantha district in north Gujarat and have been lifting water from Dharoi dam. “However, the chairmen of cooperatives from north Gujarat didn’t attend today’s meeting. But we do have their support,” Savsani said.
Currently, GRUPSS is extending membership to cooperative societies that lift water from ponds, lakes, check-dams, dams, rivers or groundwater sources. “An important condition for getting government approval for such projects is that member farmers adopt micro-irrigation systems before the cooperative is provided round-the-clock power supply. We are open to extending membership to established cooperatives drawing water from major irrigation schemes through canals too,” he said.
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