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Gujarat clears Rs 6,088 crore water plan

Our Regional Bureau  |  Ahmedabad 

The state government on Friday announced an ambitious plan to replenish ground water by raising the water table and conserving surface water through a Rs 6,
The project, named Sufalam Sujalam Yojna, has been cleared by the Union government on Thursday and will be completed by December 2005.

Launching the project, chief minister Narendra Modi said the prime minister, deputy prime minister and finance minister have in principle approved the project.

Financial details like the share of the central government and the amount of grants will be finalised in a week.
"The state government will bear the remaining costs after provisions made by the central government," Modi said at a press conference in Ahmedabad.
To be implemented by the Narmada, Water Resources, Water Supply and Kalpasar department, the project aims at raising the depleting water table level in the state and also conserving water in check dams.
A canal will be constructed from the Kadana reservoir in central Gujarat to Banaskantha in north Gujarat for irrigating thousands of hectares of land.
In the second part, the Narmada main canal will feed reservoirs in Saurashtra through a pipeline network.
A recent study has revealed that ten districts of the state face serious water scarcity, with the water table dropping from 30 metres ten years ago to about 200 metres at present.
Over 8,250 of the total 18,000 villages in the state face a water crisis with many even not getting adequate water to drink.
"This project will change the scenario and herald a second agriculture revolution in Gujarat. By the end of the next year, Gujarat will be the first state in the country to possess a fool-proof system for water," Modi said.
The districts worst hit by drought over the past years, namely Mehsana, Patan, Gandhinagar, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad, Panchamahal, Kutch and Surendranagar, will be the focus areas for the project, the chief minister said.
Close to five lakh hectares of land will be irrigated through the project and over 3,700 villages will get clean drinking water after completion of the project.
Importantly, the government will save thousands of crores of rupees that are presently being spent on relief work and related activities every year.
The state government spends around Rs 100 crore every year in repairing, maintaining and deepening borewells connected to tubewell pumps in the state.
Also, a huge amount is being spent on providing drinking water to villages during drought conditions, Modi said.
The lifeline saga
  • The project will recharge ground water and raise the water table.
  • The government will save 2694 MW electricity being used in tubewells.
  • Rs 1,000 crore savings in maintaining and deepening tubewells.
  • Agriculture production to increase by Rs 2,369 crore.
  • 1.5 lakh checkdams to be constructed to conserve water.

First Published: Wed, January 14 2004. 00:00 IST