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Ouster of Jaynarayan Vyas finds favour among Kutchis

D V Maheshwari

Bhuj, Dec 22: The people of Kutch, who always considered now ousted Narmada Development Minister Jaynarayan Vyas as the villain of the piece in their long-pending Narmada water case, are making no efforts to disguise their joy over his sacking by Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

``Though we organised two massive public rallies with unprecedented attendance as part of our ongoing decade-old agitation in support of our just demand for more Narmada water for Kutch, Vyas did not visit the border district even once, though our region was to be the main beneficiary of the Narmada project and was always quoted in all presentations before the Khosla commission, the World Bank and Narmada tribunal,'' top leaders of the Kutch Kisan Sangh (KKS), a outfit of the RSS in the State said.

In fact, they said, Vyas stuck to his stand on both the floor of the Assembly and in public statements that allocation of Narmada water to the district was adequate. It was against this open bias of Vyas that six Kutch leaders knocked the doors of Gujarat High Court, which admitted their petition for justice. They alleged that Vyas had meanwhile increased allocation of Narmada water for his constituency, which falls in the region.

Curiously, though both the Kutch Kisan Sangh and Kutch Jal Sankat Nivaran Samiti (KJSNS) are the only two organisations in the district ceaselessly crusading for the case, they have not been invited to the special meeting to discuss the Kutch case at SSNND headquarters in Gandhinagar on December 29. ``We read about the meeting only in newspapers and have not got any invitation either from the Government or the Nigam,'' an angry KKS chief Veljibhai Bhudia told this paper on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the statement of some Mumbai-based Kutchi leaders, who include 16 top businessmen and industrialists, has drawn sharp criticism here. The statement, made through pamphlets, advises people to come to terms with the Government and Nigam over final allocation of Narmada water for Kutch.

However, organising secretary of KKS, Hirjibhai Velani, says the present allocation is not adequate as Kutch has 59 lakh acres of cultivable land and the Government's latest allocation covers only 2.81 lakh acres of land.

Also, he argues that Kutch can benefit from the Narmada only if water comes here through natural gravity and not by the lift-system as decided by the Government.

He says according to the Government plan, only coastal talukas of Rapar, Bhachau, Anjar and Mundra and parts of Bhuj and Mandvi will benefit. Meanwhile, the Kutch Yuvak Sangh has said it will launch an agitation in Mumbai in January if the December 29 meeting does not produce results.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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