Skip to main content

Eye on 2019 polls? Tycoon discusses with Modi, Amit Shah Asia's biggest Rann Sarovar sweet water lake in Gujarat

Little Rann of Kutch during monsoon
By Rajiv Shah
If Kalpasar, a dream project of converting the Gulf of Khambhat into Asia’s biggest sweet water lake by constructing a dam connecting South Gujarat and Saurashtra coasts, does not seem feasible any more, why not toy with the idea of yet another having a still bigger sweet water lake – this time in the Little Rann of Kutch? Suspicion has gone strong: Ahead of the 2019 polls, the BJP is all set to make a 4,900 sq km Rann Sarovar an electoral plank.
While the idea has been floated by an industrialist known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaysukhbhai Patel, managing director, Ajanta-Oreva group, if a recent well-attended meeting on Rann Sarovar in Gujarat Vidyapeeth is any indication, it has already been “discussed”, among others, with Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, at least two ministers, and senior government officials.
Little Rann: A fishermen's heaven during monsoon
If a 90-page book in Gujarati, distributed at the meet, “Sapnu Sevyu Lok Hitarthe”, is any indication, the industrialist’s offer is electorally lucrative: As against Kalpasar’s cost of 90,000 crore, this one would cost between Rs 50 and 100 crore. All that one needs to do is to dam the 1.26 km stretch of Hadakiya Creek, which joins Kutch, Saurashtra and the Gulf of Kutch at Surajbari, to ensure that the monsoon water, gathered into the Little Rann, does no “go waste” into the sea, into the Gulf.
And lo! What you would have is the 4,900 sq km Rann Sarovar, filled with nine lakh cubic metres of sweet water, “equal to that of the Narmada dam”, to quote from the book? It would not only create an “ecology effect” (sic!), with temperatures in Ahmedabad, 130-odd km away, falling by eight degrees, but become a major tourist attraction: Speed boats, scuba diving, house boats, water skating, water jet sports, hovercraft, hot air balloon, sea plane, and what not. Then, of course, tourists can here to watch flamingoes, which fly all the way from Siberia to Gujarat’s wetlands, and would now find this as their new nesting area.
Prawn, a major catch
Discussed with Modi thrice, who reportedly told the industrialist that the idea was “worth exploring”, even as the Prime Minister “wondered” why it had not occur to anyone earlier, the book believes that the Rann Sarovar’s about 10 feet deep water, gathered from the mythical river Saraswati to Banas, Rupen, Kankavati, Brahmani, Macchu, Chandrabhaga, “in all 110 big and small rivers”, would become a major source irrigation, even as solving Saurashtra-Kutch’s drinking water problem, turning the adjoining areas into a “green belt.”
The book says, even today the Rann of Kutch is converted into a sweet water lake during the four months of monsoon, providing employment to fishermen. By stopping this water from “going waste” into the sea at Hadakiya Creek, saline water from the Gulf of Kutch wouldn’t enter in, and fisheries would become a major industry round the year.
And what would happen to an estimated 5,000 wild asses, who live the Little Rann sanctuary, their only home in the world? They could move to 75-odd islands within the Rann, which is what they do when the 4,900 sq km stretch is filled up with sweet water during the four months of monsoon. With sweet water all around, these islands, too, would become green, providing fodder.
Jaysukhbhai Patel
As for around thousands of salt-pan workers, who produce salt post-monsoon here, they would be free from their arduous traditional labour, finding alternative employment; even agriculture would become attractive to them.
Claiming to have the support of top technocrat Anil Kane, a founder of the idea of Kalpadar, former Gujarat chief secretary PK Laheri, and chairman and managing director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd SS Rathore, among others, the book says, on advice from the Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) has submitted a report Rann Sarovar, which is “broadly positive” about the proposal.

Comments

Mahesh Pandya said…
First of all carry out a study of world class wild ass sanctuary. What will happens to wild ass? Also, there is the issue of salt pan workers, Agariyas. And howw many years will it take (time) for the sarovar to became good for drinking water? Because land is highly saline. So, idea looks better but not feasible.
Urvashi Devi said…
How wonderful . If it's doable very good . If people like Lehri Saheb; Rathod; endorse it ; it should take shape . ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Sagar Rabari said…
Every proposal; including Kalpsar and vibrant MOUs are sweet and for betterment but turn saline after election...
Ashok Shrimali said…
Let them think positively
Uma Sheth said…
Hare-brained scheme with no thought for the ecology: more activists will get killed if left to the industrialist entirely
Prasad Chacko said…
Damming the Little Rann of Kutch for sweet water may seem like an easy and brilliant idea.But we should note that we are preventing the rainwater from reaching the sea; and letting a huge water body to remain stagnant round the year on a tract of salty clay mudflats which form the terrain of the Rann. The impact of this stagnant body of water on the surrounding landmass, the extent of salinity it could cause is not known. By preventing the natural flow of rainwater into the sea there could be many consequences which need to be studied carefully and understood. We all know what has been happening since the reduced outflow of water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, depriving Narmada of its water, leading to disastrous consequences downstream, and causing sea-water ingress upto 72 kms upstream and the resultant destruction of the riverine ecology. Is it worth it? it is for all of us to decide.
Any such project should not be left solely to the government to decide. Any project that has serious environmental implications cannot be a majority backed executive decision. What has resulted from the principle of the eminent domain of the state is there for all to see. There should be a multi-stakeholder council that relies of transparent studies, consultations and depositions of the communities who would be affected, competent environmental scientists from anywhere in the world with relevant knowledge and experience. The Council would make binding recommendations on such projects. And only on the basis on the recommendations of the independent council should the corporate groups be invited to bid for the project at the appropriate venue and permissible processes.

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aรฏnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aรฏnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”