In ‘scarce’ times,Gujarat govt to buy water from farmershttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/latest-news/in-scarce-times-gujarat-govt-to-buy-water-from-farmers/

In ‘scarce’ times,Gujarat govt to buy water from farmers

State govt issues tenders for private players to supply water to its offices and housing colonies.

In scarcity-hit 10 districts,govt issues tenders for private players to supply water to its offices and housing colonies.

Even as it is supplying water in villages of the 10 districts affected by scarcity,the state government itself is set to buy water from farmers to ensure taps do not run dry in its offices and colonies in the region.

As part of recently announced relief measures,water from government bores is being supplied in nearly 1,000 of the total 3919 affected villages in 10 districts.

However,fast-depleting water table in government bores and non-availability of water in local sources have forced the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department to invite tenders from private players to provide water tankers for a year for state government offices and housing colonies.

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Private players,in turn,may have to source water from bores and wells located in agricultural land owned by farmers.

With this,farmers who feared harassment after the passage of Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Bill 2013 in the state Assembly recently would actually benefit from selling water to the state government. The Bill has stringent penal provisions,including imprisonment,for water pilferage from canals.

According to an R&B Department official in Amreli,the tender notice for water tankers was issued on April 4 and the last day of submitting quotations is April 30. “With government’s water sources about to go dry,we would require supply from private players by the beginning of next month for our housing colonies and offices in Amreli city,” he said.

“The supplier will have to provide tankers of 3000 litres,5000 litres and 10,000 litres as and when required,” he added.

Tenders have also been invited in Rajkot and are in the process of being issued in other cities. “We would require private players to get water from bores located in agricultural land very soon. So the tenders have been invited,” said M P Trivedi,an executive engineer with R&B Department in Rajkot.

Minister of State for Water Supply Nanu Vanani said,“Government’s underground water sources are not enough,so we need to get supply from private bores located in agricultural lands. The government is set to award contracts through tenders.”

Dhirubhai Ganatra,owner of Maruti Water Suppliers in Rajkot city,said,“I have submitted a bid in response to a tender invited by R&B Department. We are in constant search of new agricultural land nearby Rajkot city where water table is high to sink new bores.”

Speaking in the Assembly on March 26,Revenue Minister Anandi Patel had declared 3919 villages in 10 districts scarcity-affected.

This week,the cabinet sub-committee on scarcity announced relief measures,which include supplying water by tankers and opening fodder depots.