For 35 villages on banks of river Mahisagar, proximity to the river does not mean perennial flow of water. Less rainfall, dry tributaries of Mahisagar and rapidly deteriorating water level near Vasad, due to diversion of water from Kadana dam to the Raska
Weir in Ahmedabad, has put the villagers and their livestock in a difficult situation.
With scarce water resources used up for human survival it is the livestock that is at the receiving end. This is the first time I have seen Mahisagar dry up to such an extent, 65-year-old Shanta Gohil of Fajalpur said. The water scarcity has also
affected the business, she added.
Nearly 2,000 families, in the cluster of villages, sell coconuts and have set up small tea and bhajiya shops to cater to needs of people coming for a holy dip in the Mahisagar. Mahindra Gohil, who owns a tea stall, said the business has reduced
drastically, whereas Shanta, who usually sell coconuts worth Rs 300 per day, sells only a handful.
The problem began when the government started supplying water to Ahmedabad via Raska Weir from Kadana, alleges Raojibhai Gohil of Fajalpur. Former MLA from Vadodara (rural) Upendrasinh Gohil says, Though the Raska Weir water project is beneficial to
Ahmedabad, interests of these villagers should also be taken into account.
During Shankarsinh Vaghelas tenure, a decision was taken to construct a small dam near Umeta at a cost of Rs 24 crores. If the decision had been implemented, part of the problem would have been solved. Maheshkumar Raj, a young boy from Bhanpura, said
four tubewells in his village have stopped functioning. I have heard of cattle dying in Saurashtra and Kutch. I hope that does not happen here, he said.
Mahisagar has been the source of water for our villages. In our village the water level has gone down by 40 feet and we get supply only once a day, says Shanta Naik, a resident of Bhetasi Vanta. The villagers complain that although the government has
declared that it is releasing additional 50-cusec water, the effect is hardly felt.
Due to release of additional water, the level at Poicha in Mahisagar is 6.35 m unlike 6.20 meter a few days ago. In this connection, urban development minister Parmanand Khattar, who was in Vadodara on Saturday, said the level will not remain 6.35 m
throughout summer. The water level will remain so till VMC completes work on a pipeline near Fajalpur. It will not be bad if Vadodara sacrifices a little for the benefit of areas that do not have water, he said.