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Trains, ships may be used to bring water for parched Saurashtra
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Friday, November 10, 2000

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Trains, ships may be used to bring water for parched Saurashtra

RAJKOT, NOV 9: Bringing water from other places seems to be the only way out of the severe water crisis looming large over Saurashtra, this year. With most water sources likely to go dry by January and underground water not adequate, the authorities may have to deploy trains and ships.

Water Supply Minister Narottam Patel agreed that the situation was grave and only water from outside could relieve the crisis, this year. Though the Government is giving first preference to the Mahi-Pariej pipeline, which will bring the Narmada water for Bhavanagar and Amreli, the option of bringing water by trains and ships was being kept open, he said, adding that three ships are being arranged to supply water to coastal areas of Jamnagar and other districts.

Last year, the water available in various reservoirs in the region and underground resources solved the problem to a large extent. However, this year, the situation is critical. Most of the deep bores, which were dug on the outskirts of villages, have dried up due to excess lifting of water. The administration will have to supply water from far-off places to villages through tankers, said executive engineer of GWSSB G J Ruparalia.

An official said that many parts of Jamnagar district, western parts of Rajkot district, Keshod, Junagadh, Jetpur and Gondal will soon become no-source areas. Arrangements were being made to put up desalination plants in Jamnagar and Kutch districts to use sea water, but this may not be sufficient.

Junagadh city does not have water to last for more than a month. Bhavnagar city is also facing a severe crisis. The position of Jamnagar and Rajkot, however, is slightly better as the former has some reserves of water in dams and the latter is getting water from 120 bores in Wankaner which were dug last year, GWSSB officials said.

But even in Rajkot district, 320 villages are already dependent on water tankers and District Collector A K Rakesh fears that summer would make the situation worse. After January, many villages will have to be supplied water from sources which are 25 km away. The ruling Congress in Rajkot district panchayat, headed by Vithal Radadia, has demanded that the entire Rajkot district be declared drought-hit.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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