It was New Year’s Day 2009. The unforgiving sun beat down on the parched sands of the Indo-Pak border in Gujarat in the Rann of Kutch. On this day, amidst the desolate landscape, Chief Minister Narendra Modi had arrived. His presence, a beacon of hope in the arid expanse, brought more than just news from the mainland. Shri Modi has always made it a point to spend important dates in the year with the armed forces personnel, and this year was no different.
He sat with the jawans, sharing stories and laughter. But beneath the camaraderie, a concern gnawed at him. He learned of their daily ordeal – the gruelling 50-kilometre journey conducted daily for water tankers to carry water from Suigam, the nearest village with potable supply, to the arid outpost.
The Chief Minister listened intently, his brow furrowed in concern. Shri Modi, a man known for his resolve, replied in the affirmative. He pledged to find a solution and assured the Jawans that he would bring them drinking water. Pushpendra Singh Rathore, the BSF officer who escorted Shri Modi to the furthermost point of the border, Zero Point, recalls that CM Modi took only 2 seconds to agree to the BSF jawans’ demands and made the bold claim that ‘today is 01 January – you will receive potable drinking water, through pipelines, within 6 months’.
Rathore explains that the Rann of Kutch is known for its sweltering and saline conditions and that pipelines typically cannot survive in the region. He recalls that some special pipelines were brought by Shri Modi from Germany to solve the problem. Exactly 6 months after the promise, in June, a vast reservoir was constructed near the BSF camp and water was delivered to it by the new pipeline.
The story of Shri Modi's visit to the border isn’t just about water; it is about trust and seeing a leader who listens, understands, and delivers. A leader whose guarantees are honoured.