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SSP issue discussed at Sweden workshop

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE


GANDHINAGAR, AUG 28: Narmada and Major Irrigation Minister Jaynarayan Vyas, who returned from Sweden last week after attending an international workshop on Regional Transfer of Water in an Integrated Water Resources Management Perspective, said today that the delegation from the State had successfully represented its case in favour of the SSP at the international forum.

Speaking at the workshop, which was held at Kalmar in Sweden, Vyas said regional socio-economic disparities in Gujarat coupled with the alarming trend of migration because of water scarcity, besides severely erratic rainfall, had left no option but to transfer water from Narmada to scarcity-prone areas of Western India.

He said inter-basin shifting of water was the only solution to the miseries of millions of people. Vyas also informed the gathering about the disastrous ill-effects of the use of fossilised groundwater, which was virtually being mined in the State due to scarcity. The Minister told them about the incidence of fluorosis as well as the increasing salinity ingress.

Vyas, who was accompanied by chairman of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, was asked about rehabilitation of project-affected persons at the forum. He said Gujarat had offered a very convincing package to the tribals, who had no qualms about shifting their base. The reason for this, he said, was the heavy migration of tribals.

The workshop was attended by experts, hydrologists, United Nations office-bearers and senior educationists from over 30 countries like Denmark, Israel, Somalia, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, China and Australia. The workshop was jointly sponsered by University of Kalmar, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Stockholm International Water Institute and Third World Centre for Water Management.

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