Opposition flays govt for 'ineffective' steps in ensuring water supply
GANDHINAGAR: Opposition members on Tuesday grilled the state government for not taking effective measures to ease the water situation in north Gujarat and in the tribal belt stretching from Ambaji to Ahwa under its newly-launched water conservation campaign.
During question hour, Congress member Udesinh Baria charged that the government had adopted a partisan attitude by not including the tribal belt where the water supply situation was grim. Baria was joined by Leader of Opposition Amarsinh Chaudhary who alleged the government had made more allocations in Saurashtra's districts like Amreli and Bhavnagar as diamond merchants had donated huge amounts to the government's and NGOs' water conservation programme.
Water supply minister Narottam Patel and his deputy Harjivan Patel tried to pacify the angry members by saying that the whole move was aimed at educating people to conserve water. They said the government would undertake projects such as building check dams, constructing tubewells and underground tanks in the areas mentioned by Chaudhary and Baria. Patel gave details of the amount earmarked for each district for the various projects. In all a sum of Rs 17 crore has been sanctioned for re-charging the water table and for construction of underground tanks.
Referring to Baria's demand that the government should not expect any participatory share from Adivasis for the construction of check dams and other projects as they were poor and not in a position to pay, the minister said that the government had already undertaken other projects to cater to the drinking water requirements in Adivasi areas.
The ministers had to face a barrage of supplementary from ruling party member Shanaksrinh Chaudhary who said the government had not make any arrangements for the supply of drinking water in border talukas of Vav and Tharad in Banaskantha district.
Harjivan Patel admitted that barring 30 villages mentioned by the member, other villages of the two talukas were being supplied water. He said that the water supply position would improve in the border villages once the ongoing work of laying new pipeline from Deesa at the cost of Rs 28 crore was completed. The minister said that the government was committed to provide drinking water to all villages.
Patel told Usmangani Devdiwala (Ind) that the state government had sanctioned Rs 50.27 crore for the implementation of a master plan aimed at creating new sources and augmentation of existing sources of water for 60 municipalities and nine cities.
To another question he replied that the government had decided to spend Rs 343 crore for augmentation of drinking water facility in 18,000 villages of the state. The government had sought financial assistance of Rs 600 crore from the Centre. The plea was under active consideration of the Union government, he added.