Govt steps for water supply not eco-friendly: Digvijaysinh
By A Staff Reporter
AHMEDABAD: The state government's steps like sinking bores and laying pipelines on war-footing to supply water, is a classic example of how miserably it has failed in prospective planning for meeting essential requirements like water, former union minister of state for environment Dr Digvijaysinh Zala has alleged.
While talking to The Times of India here, Dr Zala who is planning a movement against the state government's decision to sink bores in the vicinity of Wankaner to supply water to Rajkot dubbed the move as "plundering natural resources like water."
He strongly criticised the state government for not planning in advance to meet water requirement and then resorting to steps like lifting of the last of ground-water resources, without considering its impact on the environment.
"Saurashtra's cities are continuously suffering from water crisis, so why aren't alternative plans being made to supply water, until major projects like Narmada are implemented," said the former minister.
He also demanded to know as to why the government has not worked out any plan to draw water from any major reservoirs of central and south Gujarat and transport it by pipeline to the nearest railhead, from where water tanker rakes can carry it to the cities of Saurashtra's cities. According to Dr Zala, in the past decades during successive droughts, extensive planning was done to supply water to Rajkot and other cities through such water special trains.
Criticising the lifting of ground water from the environs of Wankaner to meet water requirement in Rajkot, he said that it was being done without taking the necessary permission from the Forests department as the areas wherein the bores were being struck fell under the protected area. Also, he said, such large quantity of ground-water when lifted from here would have a major fall-out on the agriculture, water availability and vegetation of the area.
According to him, the bores and pipelines would be rendered useless in a very short time as the amount being drawn out is far more than that can be replenished.
Referring to the Central Ground Water Act bill introduced in 1987 by the state government, he said that the government is yet to notify it though the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the state governments to constitute an authority which should exercise all powers under the Act necessary for the purpose of conservation of groundwater.