The Broken Life Line of Gujarat

Narmada irrigation system has been claimed to be the most advanced water management system reaching waters to remotest Gujarat.

In reality, all minor, sub-minor and dhoriya canals have collapsed in the Talukas of Bavla, Sanad and Dholka which falls under the command areas of Narmada! Our team traveled to many villages in these talukas. This is what they saw…

 

The farmers of Gujarat have been waiting for the last four decades for their dreams to be realized. Amidst the loud drum beats of `Swarnim Gujarat’, they are waiting for the waters of Narmada to reach their fields through canals worth Rs.29 crores.

Many of the existing canals are either buried or damaged without them receiving a single drop of water.

When Narmada Project was conceived before four decades, it was regarded as the `Lifeline of Gujarat’. It was the farmers dream for last four decades to receive Narmada water in their agriculture fields. What do they see today? Narmada water is being sold to industrial houses just at Rs.10 for ten thousand liters.

Over and above, the condition of existing canals are completely dilapidated. The breaches on side walls at many places has forced the water to cross the borders. In the year 2002, the canals were broken at eight places. Two large breaches were formed in 2003. 18 villages were submerged due to breaking of side walls of branch canal in 2004. The breach at Sujatpur canal created havoc in 2008. Several minor canals in Dholka, Bavla and Sanand towns are existing merely as skeletons.

While the agriculture suffers for the want of water, pushing the farmers into the jaws of debts, the land mafias prompted by industrial houses having signed MOUs at Vibrant Summits, are waiting for the opportunity to grab the poor farmers’ land. It is indeed a conspiracy to force the farmers to give up their land to industries. The target of the government is to acquire one lac hectares of land by the end of 2020 for the benefit of various industrial projects. Obviously, the State would resort to all sorts of tactics to force the farmers to surrender their land.

Nobody knows where Rs.29 thousand crores earmarked for Narmada canals maintenance have gone. Now the State has allocated further amount of Rs.40 thousand crores for Narmada project. Time has come for the farmers to hold the government accountable for Rs.29 thousand crores already spent and demand proper maintenance of the canals.