Monday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the state has indeed found a permanent solution to its perennial water shortage problem, thanks a decade-old people's movement for water conservation converting ‘Jal Shakti' into ‘Jeevan Shakti'.
Even as the State Government had taken the water resources to the people's doorsteps through UNO award winning WASMO's participatory distribution system down to village level, he said that Gujarat has now reasons to celebrate ‘Jal Shakti'.
Now on, he announced, the entire Narmada waters distribution and management system would be handed over to the farmers' water users' committees.
The Chief Minister was addressing the zonal function on ‘Jal Shakti' at Rajkot to mark the conclusion of Gujarat's yearlong golden jubilee celebration being held in different parts of the state from April 15 to May 3. He thanked the people who braved scorching sun and assembled at the function from places far and wide in eight districts in Saurashtra & Kutch region. They watched an hour-long audiovisual presentation on the success story called ‘Jal Shakti'.
Mr. Modi said that 50 years come in the life of an individual, institution or nation, but to make use of the time makes all the difference. He wished the state's golden jubilee provides six-crore people with new energy and enthusiasm.He said the state's budgetary allocation on water resource to lay canals and pipelines has been increased manifold and the focus is no on taking it to untouched regions. He said that Saurashtra has only 16 per cent of the state's total water resources, while Kutch has two per cent and north Gujarat 11 per cent. He said water conservation has become the duty of a citizen.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala said the gigantic Narmada and Mahi projects have changed the face of the state under the Chief Minister Narendra Modi's popular people's participatory policies, particularly in agriculture and agriculture related fields. The nation has to take note of the Gujarat's success story.
Agriculture and Cooperation Minister Dileep Sanghani said that Gujarat has emerged as the growth engine of India's development. Ministers and other people's representatives and members of Planning Commission make a beeline to Gujarat to study its progress. He recalled that earlier tankers used to supply drinking water to the state's water-starved areas. Now, he said, the Chief Minister's will power has made the state free of water tankers.
Water Resources Minister Nitin Patel said that 3.5-crore out of Gujarat's six-crore people are now being provided drinking water from the Narmada project, for which the Chief Minister had to observe fast to press the demand for raising the height of the dam on the Narmada to 121.92 metres. In a water revolution of sorts, he said, 1.25-lakh check dams have been built in the state through Sardar Patel Water Conservation Participatory Scheme.
On this occasion, the Ministers honoured people with citations for exemplary contribution in water conservation, agriculture and horticulture. They included Shamjibhai Antana, Premjibhai Patel, A.R. Patel and Popatbhai N. Patel of Rajkot, Savjibhai D Dholakia and Bharatbhai V Vegad of Amreli, Mathurbhai Savani of Bhavnagar, Kantilal B. Ajudia of Jamnagar, Mukeshbhai C Hirpara and Gafarbhai Qureshi of Junagadh.
The winners of state-level competition in painting and essay during the Swarnim Khel Mahakumbh-2010 were also honoured at the function. They included Nitalba R. Zala, Ushaben S. Manthar, Atulbhai V Vaghela, Manisha D Bodar and Bhartiben J Parmar.
The Chief Minister unveiled books titled ‘Saurashtra-ma Jal Kranti', ‘Ahvan Jal Shakti' published by WASMO, ‘Khambhat-na Akhat-na Vikas-ni Pariyojna' and ‘Communitization of Rural Water Supply – The Gujarat Innovation'.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included Ministers Ramanlal Vora, Purushottam Solanki, Vasuben Trivedi, Kanubhai Bhalana, Vasanbhai Ahir, Mohanbhai Kundaria, Parbatbhai Patel, Kiritsinhji Rana, Parliamentary Secretaries L.T. Rajani, Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee Chairman I.K. Jadeja, GSRTC Chairman B.S. Ghodasara, Goseva Ayog Chairman Vallabhbhai Kathirira, MLAs of the zonal region, Chief Secretary A.K. Joti, Principal Secretary (Water Supply) H.K. Dash, Water Resources Secretary H.J. Desai, SSNL Chairman D. Rajgopalan, Managing Director S. Jagdeeshan, Joint Managing Director G.R. Aloria, Special Secretary S.R. Bharthi, Narmada Secretary Aseem Khurana, Gram Vikar Secretary Ritaben Tevtia, District Collector H.S. Patel, DDO Nalinchandra Upadhyay, Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Brahmbhatt and Rajkot Mayor Janak Kotak, among others.