How much area in Gujarat is irrigated with Narmada water? Why is industry breakup not released? Asks farmers leader

By Our Representative
Strongly refuting Gujarat government claim that just about 4.7 million acre feet (MAF) of water is available from Narmada dam, which is more than 50% -- or 9 MAF -- that should be made available to Gujarat, hence no Narmada water will be available for irrigation after March 15, top farmers' leader Sagar Rabari has wondered: How much land is being irrigated from the dam's water?
Rabari, in a letter to Gujarat chief secretary JN Singh and Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSSNL) CMD SS Rathore, has asked, "Have we irrigated 18.45 lakh hectates (ha) of land for kharif and rabi crop?" The question acquires significance, as according to SSNNL's own admission, as of June 2017, 5,66,701 ha, or less than one-third of the area that should be potentially be brought under irrigation, actually came under irritation.
Notably, an SSSNL status report suggests the reason why the area brought under irrigation from Narmada is so low is because of the failure to complete the Narmada canal network. The report says, if the irrigation potential created up to the minor canals is 78.88%, it is 53.54% up to the sub-minors out of 18.45 lakh ha slated to be irrigated.
Significantly, there is no mention of the progress in creating field channels, necessary for irrigating the agricultural land, one reason why farmers siphon out waters mainly from the minor canals by sinking long pipes, attached with diesel-run pumps. If earlier field channels were to be developed by farmers' cooperative, the SSNNL decided to take it up under its wings in early 2000s as the farmers' cooperatives couldn't materialise.
It is being reasoned, if the area brought under irrigation so far created is less than one-third of what it should be, why can't the farmers be provided water when more than 50% of Narmada water officially declared to be available?
Sagar Rabari
Refuting the official view that this time lack of rain in the Narmada command area is the main reason why Gujarat would be getting less amount of Narmada water, leading to 0.06 MAF available for industries as against the allocation of 0.20 MAF, Rabari in his letter asks the state government to provide breakpup of how much of water is provided to industries in Jamnagar and Kutch.
Rabari wants the state officials to also make public the exact quantity of Narmada water being released in the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati river front in Ahmedabad, and "how much land can be potentially irrigated by that quantity of water." He further wonders how much Narmada water is being supplied to Kensville golf course and Adanis' Shantigram township, and how much of irrigation potential does that carry.
He pointedly asks, "Who bypassed the engineer’s advise and overruled the decision not supply water to Shantigram?", wondering, "What about Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City off Gandhinagar? How much water does it consume? How many Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) estates and which big industries are getting Narmada water? How much water does Coca Cola get from Narmada?"
The letter comes close on the heels of a major revelation that Narmada water in Gujarat meant for irrigation wouldn't be available this summer because it isa being diverted to Madhya Pradesh in order to assuage farmers' anger ahead of state elections, slated later this year.
Notably, Gujarat government released huge quantities of Narmada waters ahead of Gujarat polls, which took place in December 2017, with things going so far as to flood the Little Rann of Kutch. A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani admitted  to Counterview that "political reasons" led the state government not to warn possibility of sharp shortfall in Narmada water ahead of the polls.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
The water is going to the River Front in Ahmedabad--no shortage there