The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, today chaired a high level meeting on the drought and water scarcity situation in parts of Gujarat. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Smt. Anandiben Patel, was present in the meeting. Senior officials from the Government of India, and the State of Gujarat, were also present.
Elaborating on the State’s efforts for water conservation, recharge and creation of water bodies, the Chief Minister mentioned that 1.68 lakh check dams, 2.74 lakh farm ponds, 1.25 lakh Bori Bandhs have been made with storage capacity of 42.3 billion cubic feet water, benefitting 6.32 lakh hectares.
Piped water supply is being provided to 77 per cent of households in the State. In spite of deficient rainfall for the second consecutive year, the work done for the state water grid has resulted in only 568 tankers being required for water distribution in some remote tail areas. The Prime Minister, while appreciating this effort, called for further action to completely eliminate the need for tanker supply.
The State has made significant progress in micro-irrigation. One hundred per cent coverage of drip/sprinkler irrigation has been achieved in 3789 villages.
The measures undertaken by the State have resulted in a reasonable amount of drought-proofing, despite deficient (about 80 per cent of long-term average) and skewed temporal distribution of rainfall. Despite two successive years of drought, crop production in the State has been estimated at 95 per cent of the normal.
The creation of an elaborate canal network under the Sardar Sarovar Irrigation Scheme, has led to a significant increase in crop yields, and a positive impact on farm incomes. In this context, the Prime Minister emphasized on value addition in horticulture and cash crops.
Measures to boost progress in fishery, bee-keeping, pearl culture, and seaweed, were also discussed.
The meeting ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and State to work together.