Board to remove pumps from dam site
Gandhinagar, May 21:
EVEN as drought-hit Saurashtra battles acute drinking water shortage,
the Gujarat Water Supply Board (GWSB) is contemplating removing
the high-capacity pumps installed at the Narmada dam site to pump
water out of the dam and supply it to water-starved areas through
the Pariej-Saurashtra pipeline.
‘‘We have no other option
but to remove the pumps from the dam site before they are washed
away in floods that may be caused by the impending monsoon. Later,
some of the pumps will be installed at the Ukai dam to draw water
and supply it to the GEB-run thermal power unit to maintain power
generation,’’ a senior official of the Water Board told The Indian
The official maintained
that the removal of pumps from the Narmada dam site would not have
any adverse impact on the supply of Narmada water to Vadodara, Ahmedabad,
Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Junagadh cities and other small towns
in the Saurashtra region. ‘‘We will fill up the Pariej and Kaneval
lakes, and also ensure that the water-level in the main Narmada
canal is maintained at five feet so that the supply lasts till the
monsoon arrives in Gujarat,’’ the official asserted.
Referring to the controversy
raging over the power and water bills issued to the Water Board
by the GEB and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam for using Narmada
water, the official said: ‘‘We have requested Chief Minister Keshubhai
Patel to intervene in the matter and get both the bills waived.’’
The official refuted the
charge made by the Congress that the board’s claim to have quenched
the thirst of millions with Narmada water was a mere ‘‘publicity
stunt’’, saying: ‘‘Water riots would have broken out in many parts
of the state, particularly in Saurashtra, had the Board not decided
to pump water from the Narmada reservoir and supply it to these
However, the 11-member
Congress committee headed by former chief minister Dilip Parikh
has painted a grim picture on the drinking water front, saying that
Namada water is yet to reach many parts of Saurashtra, where people
have to trek long distances for a pitcher of water.
The committee members,
who concluded their extensive four-day tour of the water-starved
districts on Friday, appear to have been convinced by the fact that
all was not well despite the Board’s claim and the publicity blitzkrieg
by the BJP regime to establish that Narmada water had come as a
boon to the people living in drought-affected areas.
‘‘The committee will submit
its report to the party on Monday on its findings and expose the
government’s claim that the Narmada waters have quenched the thirst
of millions,’’ Parikh said.
The committee visited
several affected towns and interior villages of Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar,
Amreli and Rajkot districts and gathered all relevant details about
the drinking water problem in these areas.
Despite having spent crores
of rupees on pumping out Narmada water and laying the pipeline on
the Mahi-Pariej route, the Water Board has not been able to supply
water to many of the villages and towns reeling under the impact
of the third consecutive year of drought, Parikh lamented.
‘‘A major town like Dhandhuka
in Ahmedabad district is getting water supply once in two days.
And in the rural areas of this taluka, women are seen trekking five
to seven km to fetch a bucket of water,’’ Parikh pointed out, adding:
‘‘During the tour, the committee members saw a number of handpumps
and borewells lying non-operational in many villages.’’