Modi addresses farmers, blames Centre for delay in Narmada gates

AChief Minister Narendra Modi at the farmers’ convention in Devla village on Sunday.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday blamed the Centre for the alleged delay in granting permission to build gates on Narmada Dam even as Saurashtra was reeling under water crisis.

"I have met the Prime Minister 15 times, asking for the permission to allow installation of gates on Narmada Dam. However, every time he says, 'Oh really! Has it still not been done?'," Modi said while addressing a massive convention of farmers at Devla village, about 65 km from Rajkot.

The convention was organised by Saurashtra Jal Dhara Trust, a Surat-based NGO working for the promotion of water conservation, to urge farmers to adopt water-efficient farming practices and demand Narmada's water for irrigation in Saurashtra.

"When installed, the gates would increase the water storage capacity of the dam by 70 per cent. This will help supply additional water and electricity to Maharashtra also where the Congress is in power," Modi said, adding that the state government would not fill the dam beyond 121.92 metres without permission.

The 16-metre tall gates would take the height of the dam to 138.62 and increase the reservoir's storage capacity from current 1.27 million acre feet (mcft) to 4.75 mcft. However, Narmada Control Authority, a body supervising the execution of the project, has withheld its permission to this work over issues of rehabilitation of affected people.

The body has representatives of state governments of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradeh, the four beneficiary states and the Union government.

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