Canal work at snailís pace, Modi govt dreams of Sardar Sarovarís new height

DoneSince the launch of the Sardar Sarovar project in 1982, only 40 per cent of the total nearly 75,000-km long canal networking work is done.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi may have raised the pitch in blaming the central government about "delaying" Sardar Sarovar project clearances to raise the height of the dam and its holding capacity, but the state government itself has moved at snail's pace in laying the canal network, which is equally important to achieve full potential of the project.

Since the launch of the project in 1982, only 40 per cent of the total nearly 75,000-km long canal networking work is done. So if lower height of the dam poses a risk of losing a huge amount of water to wastage by overflowing, the absence of branch canals despite water availability in the dam at present, leaves huge parts of the state reeling under a water crisis.

From August 7, 2012, when, following deficient rains Saurshtra-Kutch region and north Gujarat dams, had hit rock bottom, the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river at Kevadia colony was overflowing.

When these regions are now facing crop failure, the BJP under Mods leadership has launched a campaign against the Centre for delaying installation work of 30 spillway gates on Sardar Sarovar project, which will take height of this dam covering four major states - Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan - to 138.62 metres from 121.92 and increase water-holding capacity by 74 per cent, from 1.27 million acre feet to 4.75, and help irrigate parched areas in Gujarat.

When final action report on rehabilitation of displaced families by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states have been cleared by Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group of Narmada Control Authority (NCA) a year ago, Maharashtra submitted it only in January.

A Resettlement and Rehabilitation official told The Indian Express that group is yet to review the Maharashtra report. Modi, time and again, in his public speeches maintained that review committee of NCA should deal with Maharashtra report fast and give nod to raise dam height. With NCA sub-committee of environment having given its green signal in 2010 itself, a nod from Resettlement and Rehabilitation is the only thing pending to take dam height to its maximum level.

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