Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Letter to Gujarat CM: Frustrated farmers see govt gameplan, agree with anti-dam NBA, "waters meant for industry"

Vijay Rupani
By Our Representative
Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), the upcoming non-political farmers’ organization, has threatened state chief minister Vijay Rupani that if the work for providing Narmada waters via minor canal No 4B of the Dholera region south of Ahmedabad fails to begin within a week, its farmers would begin a major protest dharna in Gandhinagar, the state capital.
Declaring the date and time, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 12-00 pm, the spot, KSG has declared, will be either the office of the Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), a Government of India consultant which has been given the job to prepare for supply of water, or what has come to be identified as Satyagrah Chhavani, where all protests take place.
In a letter to Rupani, KSG leader Sagar Rabari has said, the farmers of Dholera region, where the state government recently planned special investment region, are upset by the refusal of the officialdom to tell them whether the “promise” to provide Narmada waters to their agricultural fields in Dholera.
In fact, Rabari’s letter says, the farmers are beginning to see that the anti-dam Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) saw through the government gameplan years ago when it said that Narmada dam was not being built for farmers, and its water would go to industries and industrialists.
“Their warning has come true; the government is working overtime to construct pipelines to take Narmada water to their industries but farmers are made to run from pillar to post for their rightful share of the waters”, says Rabari.
Referring to failure to get any response from the officialdom for query to the promise of Narmada water, Rabari says, “It pains me to say that the administrative efficiency in Gujarat under your leadership has gone from bad to worse. Phone numbers listed on the Sardar Sarovar Narmda Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) website are not attended to. And if emails are not to be responded to, why give out email IDs?”
He adds, “Landline numbers are routinely not answered. Is this the governance? Farmers of Dholera have had to endure this nightmarish farce of command-de-command and recommend of their area. Having come this far, now they are made to run by two agencies – WAPCOS and SSNNL.”
“In the last one and a half months, we visited the SSNNL executive engineer at Limdi thrice, Dhandhuka office twice, and they have a standard reply to our repeated phone calls – work is pending with WAPCOS”, Rabari says.
“We visited WAPCOS thrice; on first attempt they assured us that it will be done within a week. Now more than a month has passed, but nothing has happened”, Rabari says, adding, “We have sent mail for an appointment with managing director, SSNNL, sent two reminders, too, but none has been answered.”
Pointing out that this is a question of an entire agriculture season, Rabari says, “If the work is delayed a bit, monsoon will arrive and the administration will get an excuse not to work, and for the farmers the next crop season will be ruined without irrigation. We do not perceive any concern on the part of the government or the administration to this plight of the farmers.”

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