Updated: April 18, 2017 3:13:16 am
PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Monday said that nobody has the right to waste a drop of Narmada water being pumped to reservoirs in Saurashtra as part of the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojna as the project was being funded by taxes collected from the poor.
“The Gujarat government has estimated a budget of Rs 16,000 crore to pump water by SAUNI Yojna… If we channel water through open canals, the expense can be less. But we decided that even if it is expensive, we will pump water through pipelines as only then we can take water to the last farm. Otherwise there will be rampant pilferage along the way. I request all brothers and sisters, I request the entire Gujarat. These pipelines have been laid by taxes collected from the poorest of Gujarat. This is an attempt to supply water to the poorest. This water is a prasad (blessing) of God. Neither me nor you have any right to waste a drop of it,” Modi said.
The PM was addressing a public meeting here after dedicating to the public phase-I of Link-II of SAUNI Yojna. The Link-II pipeline canal has been designed to pump Narmada water into 17 dams in Botad, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts. The be 257-km line will have capacity to carry 258 million cubic metres of water. Phase-I covers Limdi Bhogavo dam-II near Limdi to Bhimdad dam in Gadhda taluka of Botad district. Modi had inaugurated phase-I of Link-I near Dhrol in Jamnagar district last August.
The PM said he wanted to make villages rich by providing irrigation water and not by giving them wads of notes. “Farmers of Gujarat have the capacity to harvest gold by using that water. Therefore, they will certainly prefer water over wads of notes,” he said.
Modi said the government had taken the water to the most difficult terrains for the poor.
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“Today, Narmada water has reached 400 km away and at a height of 400 metres. When phase-II is complete, it the distance will be 500 km and height 500 metres,” he said.
The PM also praised Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his yatra for conserving Narmada. “To ensure that water continues to flow in the Narmada in coming decades, he is encouraging people to plant trees along its banks. It is therefore the duty of every Gujarati to thank Chouhan and make it our religion to adopt drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation etc,” he said.
Reiterating the cental government’s intention to double income of farmers by 2022, he urged them to adopt mechanisation, dairy farming, use solar power and reduce use of chemical fertilisers.
Modi also laid the foundation stone for phase-II of Link-II. It will start from Bhimdad dam and end at Shetrunji dam, the largest reservoir in Saurashtra in terms of water storage capacity. Modi has announced the SAUNI project in 2012 when he was Gujarat chief minister.
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