Form joint front of political parties on Narmada issue:Gujarat Congress
Ahmedabad, 5 May 2013
Senior Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil today in media interaction, said that in the past, all political parties had a joint front on the issue of Narmada project. But now the Chief Minister is not taking anyone in confidence. This is just because this would expose him and his failures.
He said Gujarat gets more than 9MAF of Narmada which is its share. This can help provide water to people of parched Gujarat.
At a levish function at Siddhpur on September 8, 2005 Chief Minister had claimed that Sarasvati river near Siddhpur will have Narmada water round the year. He had said that the check dams in the bed of Saraswati River will be filled by Narmada water through canal and pipelines. And thus the river will have water round the year. Chief Minister had gathered more than 150 religious leaders and others to make the function a great publicity show. No water has been brought into the river after that day.If saints present at 2005 meeting go to Siddhpur today, they will find people playing cricket in the river bed, Gohil said.
Instead of giving benefits of farmer centric Narmada project to most needy people, Chief Minister has started giving its advantage to his industrialist friends. Gohil rolled out figures which show that Gujarat was slicing off Narmada command area for the benefit of industrialists by setting up Special Investment Regions and Special Economic Zones.
He said that 28,000 hectare of land of Bhal area was denotified for setting up Dholera SIR. This is in Narmada command area. Similarly, 13,000 hectare command area land around Sanand has been denotified for SIR and GIDC. Other such cases are, he said,45259 hectare of Bharuch and Vagra taluka for petroleum and petrochemical SIR, 16800 hectare of Aliabet for entertainment SIR, 16674 hectare of villages of Santalpur and Radhanpur taluka has been denotified for a SIR and12229 hectare of Halol, Kalol and Savali taluka for a SIR. Much of this land is of Narmada command area.
In addition to this, state government plan for 11 other SIR will make landless thousands of farmers of Sanand , Bavala, Bhachau, Anjar, Bhuj, Malia, Mandal, Sami Bahucharaji, Dabhoi and Tilakwada. Government also has proposal for SEZs which will require a total of 319.78 Sq kms in different parts of the state, mainly in the command area. Government cannot denotify this land since the command area is defined and demarcated by the Tribunal.
Gohil cited example of Rajasthan to drive home his point that sincere implementation of scheme can work miracle. Rajasthan has a share of 0.5 MAF and command area of 75,000 hectare. But through innovative irrigation schemes, Rajasthan has an operational command area of 2.25 lakh hectare. Gujarat gets 9 MAF with command area of 16.08 lakh hectare, but it has not increased even an inch. On the other hand, Gohil said, Gujarat has worked in five lakh hectare only.
Why leaders of other political parties were not invited to speak a programme organized by NGOs on Narmada, he asked. Gohil challenged Modi to discuss issues of Narmada project on a public platform. He reminded Modi of days when Chief Ministers used to hold all party meetings. Why this practice has been stopped, he asked. At the same time he extended full support to Gujarat government in smooth and quick implementation of the project.
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