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“Gujarat to handover Narmada Project’s water distribution management to farmers’ water users committees” “Centre should allow the gates of Sardar Sarovar Project main dam on Narmada to be raised up to 138 metres” —Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, Tuesday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the Narmada waters distribution network under the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) command area would be handed over to the farmers’ water users committees in about 5,000 villages in the state.

Talking to farmers across the state on the occasion of Krishi Mahotsav-2012 through videoconferencing, he asked the villagers to take over the management of distribution network.

Mr. Modi said that two generations have passed since Gujarat had asked the Central Government to allow the height of the main dam of the SSP on the Narmada to be raised to 138 metres, but it is stuck at 121.92 metres. At the present height, the dam holds just 27 percent of the total capacity. Gujarat bashers are opposing the completion of the dam, he said.

Ironically, he said, the Central Government provides 90 per cent assistance from AIBP for drought relief, but not to the SSP with potential to fight drought.

He said that the cost of the project originally estimated at Rs.6,000-crore has gone up to Rs.50,000-crore. It is Gujarat Government which has allocated Rs.9,000-crore from its budget to provide to higher reaches in North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch.

Mr. Modi said that 80,000 farmers of Gujarat had voluntarily handed over about 40,000 ha of their land falling under Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) to the authorities and were given compensation of Rs.1,200-crore. He said that present government has augmented the irrigation capacity of canals and add another one lakh ha by the yearend.

He said the government has undertaken the task of taking the Narmada Canal waters to fill up dams and higher altitudes in Saurashtra and Kutch through a series of pumps, some of them being the world’s biggest. Similarly, water from Panam and Kadana dams has been taken through lift irrigation to tribal belt. Sujalam Sufalam Yojna has diverted surplus rainwater flowing down the rivers into the sea to water-starved regions. There are 1,200 other small and big irrigation projects in the state.

The Chief Minister said that all these efforts have brought 37-lakh hectares agriculture land under irrigation in the state.

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