Sharad Joshis Shetakari Sangathana criticised the state government for ignoring its warning of impending drought in September 1999.
Had arrangements been made to draw water from Sardar Sarovar and channeled through the main canal, all the lakes and water bodies in Saurashtra, Kutch, North Gujarat and Rajasthan could have been filled up, a press release of Shetkari Sanghatana claimed
here on Tuesday.
The state government ignored the warning, and in fact used excessive police force in an attempt to scuttle a symbolic Kar Seva organised under the banner of Narmada Jana Andolan, said the release. The state also went to the extent of emptying the Sardar
Sarovar in order to frustrate the Kar Seva, it claimed.
The fears expressed by the farmers organisations materialised, and north Gujarat, Saurasthra and Kutch are facing a drought that can be compared to the Chhappania famine of 1856, the press release said.
Even today, the Sardar Sarovar is overflowing with water, and yet the state government continues to be obstinate. The water is not being transferred into the main canal, endangering a large number of cattle and human lives, the press release stated.
In an effort to help the drought affected people, the Kisan Co-ordination Committee has launched a campaign to procure sugar-cane and bajra stems, and transporting them to the affected areas in an operation. The press release added that atleast 1,000
wagons of fodder will be transported, while the state government will procure it.