Assuring people of no drinking water scarcity till July 31, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday said that by 2023, the state government will make the tribal areas free of hand pumps. Speaking at a public event to celebrate World Water Day, the CM urged people to not waste water and use it judiciously, saying water is costly and consider it as ishwar nu prasad (God’s blessing).
“We have eradicated water-related diseases in north Gujarat and Saurashtra where people were suffering from kidney stones by providing them clean water. Gujarat is the first state that is providing 80 per cent surface water through taps. In tribal areas where the population is scattered and dependent on three lakh hand pumps, the state government is seriously moving towards making these areas handpump-free in the next five years. We are moving towards hand pump-free Gujarat. The move is towards reducing the dependence on ground water and usage of maximum surface water, recycling policies,” said Rupani.
Stating that Gujarat is moving towards urbanisation, he said that more than 95 per cent population live in cities and it has become a challenge for the government to meet the water requirement. “We are creating sources, for instance the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam was increased after PM Narendra Modi’s approval… Imagine if Narmada water was not there due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, people of Saurashtra, north Gujarat and Kutch would have seen mass exodus… But what to do if there is no water in the dam’s catchment area. People ask why water scarcity when the height of the dam has been increased… After the monsoon, the Narmada Control Authority analysed that Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat would receive 50 per cent less water. Despite this, the Gujarat government has provided water to farmers for their monsoon and Rabi crops.”
Speaking on the government’s plan to make alternate arrangements in the wake of water crisis in the state, Rupani said that Gujarat will be the first state to set up a desalination plant in Maliya. “If the desalination plant is a success, it will be replicated in other coastal areas as well,” he added.