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Narmada water to quench Ahmedabad's thirst

GANDHINAGAR, OCT 6: In a significant development, the Gujarat Government has decided to supply Narmada waters overflowing the incomplete Sardar Sarovar dam to the parched areas of Ahmedabad, Central Gujarat and Saurashtra in view of the impending drought for the second consecutive year in the State.

With an unprecedented reduction in the water flow into the Kadana and Panam dams in Central Gujarat, water would be available from the Mahi river for Ahmedabad's Raska weir as well as the Pariyej-Kanewal Saurashtra Pipeline, expected to be ready by the year-end, only till December. In this situation, the only option left for the State Government is Narmada waters.

``We are considering various options to lift the Narmada waters and will tap at least 1,000 cusecs to cater to the need of 130 cusecs each of Ahmedabad city and Pariyej Pipeline, which is to feed 1,600 villages of Amreli and Bhavnagar districts. We need 1,000 cusecs to take care of losses due to evaporation and seepage,'' explains Water Resources Secretary M S Patel.

Patel said that with the Narmada waters, it will also be possible to supply water to the Bhal region of Ahmedabad district and parts of Central Gujarat falling in the command area of Mahi. The water flowing over the Narmada dam will be supplied through the Narmada main canal till Timba near Wanakbori reservoir. From there, through the Shedhi canal it would be transferred to the Raska weir and the Pariyej-Kanewal pipeline.

Asked why the arrangement to use Narmada waters was not implemented last year, Patel explained it was for the first time in the history of the Kadana dam that there was only 10 to 12 per cent of the normal water flow in it. The Kadana dam was to be chief source, on the basis of which the Raska weir and the Pariyej scheme were conceived. Secondly, this arrangement could not be made earlier because neither the Raska weir nor the Pariyej scheme existed, he said.

Patel was part of a high-level team of engineers and experts from various water-related departments of the State Government, led by Chief Secretary L N S Mukundan, which came back on Thursday evening after visiting the Kevadia Colony site of the Sardar Sarovar Project. The scheme to lift the Narmada waters would cost less than Rs. 100 crore and was expected to be commissioned by January. A government spokesman said as much as 40,000 cusecs of water flowing over the Narmada dam went waste every day.

The hearings on the SSP case in the Supreme Court have concluded, while the Narmada Control Authority has given permission to Gujarat's by-pass tunnel to draw water.

``Even if it is assumed that further work on the dam starts now, it will take at least one year to complete the construction. In this situation, the government found it prudent to tap the precious Narmada water,'' the spokesman stated.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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