Bhumalia,the village closest to the Sardar Sarovar Dam site at Kevadia Colony,can only watch the water overflowing as it still depends on rains to grow crops.
Currently,a huge quantity of water flows into the Narmada main canal,which is located barely 500 metres from this village. Still,residents of Bhumalia say the water is of no use to them as their land does not get water from the canal.
Narmada main canal is at present getting nearly 22,500 cusecs of water daily due to huge inflow of water from Omkareshwar,Tava,and Indira Sagar dams in Madhya Pradesh.
Despite this,for this village of around 3,000 residents,water from the dam that is nearly seven km away remains beyond their reach even as a three-km-long sub-minor canal running across the village remains dry due to what dam authorities call technical fault.
We can only see the canal flowing but cannot get water for our 244 hectares of land where we sow cotton,bajra,paddy,and tur. We have to depend on rains for agriculture, said Jasang Tadvi,a farmer from Bhumalia.
Whats more,the village had given around 19 hectares of land to for the dam,Tadvi said. We have been requesting dam authorities to at least check and repair the fault due to which the minor and sub-minor distribution canals do not get water,but they say the survey conducted for the sub-minor canal years ago showed technically fault, he said.
Villagers get drinking water from borewells and water tanks.
Bhumalia is not the only village near the dam site that remains dry. There are at least four villages adjoining Bhumalia where farmers face similar predicament because canal water does not reach them despite the fact that dam authorities converted the sub-minor canal into a concrete one in 2006.
Authorities said a Rs 25-crore scheme meant to take water to as many as 93 villages in Nandod and Tilakwada talukas will help them supply water to some of these villages but so far,only 18 villages have benefited from the scheme,most of them being far downstream from dam site.
P M Patel,a chief engineer with the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL),said some villages upstream near the dam site do not get water because water cannot reach there due to a technical problem with sub-minor canals.
It is not possible for us to repair sub-minor canals as they are in thousands. We only take care of around 1,200 minor canals and the users of the sub-minor canal have to take care of that themselves, Patel said.