The Gujarat government on Tuesday told the state legislature that the Narmada project has helped increase farmers income by 2 to 2.5 times.
While Congress MLAs said that 90 metres of the Sardar Sarovar dam was built during its regime, ruling BJP said it has helped build a 69,000 kilometre canal network that boosted farmers’ income and increased the irrigation potential of the state by 17.92 lakh hectares.
“In farms where one crop used to be harvested, today two crops are being harvested. In (farm) households that had only bicycles, today they have motorcycles. Houses that had motorcycles, now have cars. Farmer’s incomes have risen by 2-2.5 times. The reason for this is BJP’s ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’ programme”, said Rushikesh Patel, minister for water resources and water supply while addressing the Assembly.
The government also said that only six per cent of the Rs 72,000 crore Narmada project remains to be completed and a target has been set to conclude the project by 2022-23.
“Only some works related to sub-minor and minor canals remain. This BJP government will complete even that,” Patel said.
The minister added that the 38 lakh hectares of agricultural land which had irrigation facilities in the year 2000 has been increased to 69 lakh hectares in the last 20 years.
Congress MLA Amit Chavda said that Narmada was used as a “political tool” by the ruling BJP to garner votes before the assembly elections.
He pointed how the Gujarat government in 2007 had targeted to complete the project by 2010 and later laid plastic sheets on the river bed of Saraswati river at Siddhpur in North Gujarat and Narmada water was flowed into it.
“Today, the Saraswati riverbed in Sidhpur is bone dry. After elections, the water vanished,” Chavda said, adding that 60,000 kilometres of canal network still remains to be constructed.
Patel said that Kutch will soon get one million acre feet of Narmada water as the state government has floated a Rs 4,369 crore tender for laying pipelines to carry the water.
Under the first phase, 1.13 lakh hectares in Rapar, Anjar, Mundra, Mandvi, Bhuj and Nakhatrana will get water for irrigation.