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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Gujarat's desperate plea to Rajasthan for water

Online edition of India's National Newspaper on indiaserver.com
Wednesday, September 20, 2000


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Gujarat's desperate plea to Rajasthan for water

By Our Special Correspondent

GANDHINAGAR, SEPT. 19. Even as the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Keshubhai Patel, has requested his Rajasthan counterpart, Mr. Ashok Gehlot, to release more water from the Mahi-Banas Sagar dam for the rain-starved people of Ahmedabad and the Saurashtra region, the non-resident Gujaratis in the United States have urged the Prime Minister, Mr. Vajpayee, for immediate intervention for an early solution to the Narmada dam dispute.

Seriously concerned over the shortage of rainfall for the second consecutive year with the last hopes of receiving heavy showers in September evaporating in thin air, Mr. Patel chaired a high- level meeting here on Monday night to discuss the water situation in the State. At the end of the meeting he dashed off a letter to his Rajasthan counterpart, reiterating the request he made orally when he met Mr. Gehlot in New Delhi earlier this week.

Mr. Patel in his letter has urged the Rajasthan Chief Minister to leave the disputes between the two States over the sharing of the Mahi river water in the backburner at least for the time being and to come to the rescue of the people of the State.

Rajasthan was forced to construct the Mahi-Banas Sagar dam in the upstream because it could not get the promised share of water from the Kadana dam, which is now a major source of drinking water supply to Ahmedabad city besides supplying irrigated water to the Panchamahals and Kaira district in the central Gujarat. The construction of the Mahi-Banas Sagar dam has considerably reduced the flow of water to the Kadana dam, setting off a dispute between the two States.

The Chief Minister was informed that the flow in the Kadana dam had further reduced this year due to shortage of rainfall. While the Mahi- Banas dam was filled to 60 per cent of its capacity, the Kadana had just about 10 per cent water. The State Government has estimated that if Rajasthan released more water from the Mahi-Banas Sagar dam to the Kadana, it could be supplied to Ahmedabad city and then fed into the Mahi-Pariyej pipeline scheme for the Saurashtra region which was expected to be ready by January end.

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