Will water woes drown Narendra Modi in Saurashtra?

Narendra Modi

The persistent water woes of Saurashtra, a scarcity-prone area of Gujarat, has become one of the main poll issues in the 2012 assembly elections here as people are angry that virtually nothing has been done in the last ten years to resolve the problem permanently.

Saurashtra, an area without a perennial river and having inverted pan topography, suffers from water scarcity as average rainfall is also very less here.

"The government is not serious in addressing the core issue...there is severe problem of water for drinking and irrigation, in our region," Sendhabhai Mavadia, a farmer in Jetpur town of, Rajkot district, said.

Many people in cities or in villages in the region agree that no government has brought a permanent solution to the water woes.

In all seven districts of Rajkot, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Surendranagar, there is restricted supply of water.

Residents in Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Surendranagar are getting water every alternate day and that too for 20-30 minutes.

The situation in smaller cities and villages is much worse. Gariadhar is getting water every third day, Sihor every second day and in Mahuva housewives have to keep every water storage utensil handy as they get drinking water supply only once in four days.

Saurashtra and Kutch consists of 54 assembly constituencies, out of total 182 in the state and is considered a key for any political outfit to form government in Gujarat.

Rajkot city, the nerve centre of Saurashtra, which is getting 20 minutes supply of water for an approximate population of 20 lakh every alternate day, has drinking water requirement of 150 MLD and is dependent on two dams, Nyaari and Aji.

"The dams get filled in Saurashtra only when there is heavy rain in catchment areas. This has not happened this season and has resulted in low water storage levels in the dams," said Municipal Commissioner Rajkot Ajay Bhadu.

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