Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Wednesday clarified in the Gujarat Assembly the figures related to the extent of canal network built by the state government as part of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project to provide Narmada water for irrigation.
Leader of the Opposition, Congress’ Paresh Dhanani, had a few days ago flagged alleged discrepancies in the figures given.
On Wednesday, the issue was taken up for discussion by Speaker Rajendra Trivedi.
Making a statement with reference to a Point of Clarification that he had raised on Tuesday after Dhanani pointed to a difference of 10 lakh hectare between the figure provided by the deputy chief minister and the figure available in the Socio-Economic Survey for the year 2018-19, Patel said the government had built irrigation capacity to provide water for 16.11 lakh hectare but that farmers had utilised it only in 6.73 lakh hectare area. “It is up to the farmers whether to utilise the water or not,” Patel said, seeking to explain the close to 10 lakh hectare gap.
However, Dhanani said it was difficult to believe that farmers were not ready to utilise Narmada water when the government was offering it to them. Patel should stop misguiding the people of Gujarat, he said, and instead ensure that the canal network of the scheme is completed so that farmers can start utilising its full irrigation capacity.