Veteran Congressman of Kutch, Mahesh Thackar, said on Wednesday that both the old and new plans of Kutch branch of Narmada canal had become obsolete after the devastating earthquake of 2001. Thackar, who is a civil contractor by profession and expert on Narmada canal, was addressing a press meet. The meet was organised by Congress state vice president Adam Chaki.
He said as per original allotment, Kutch was to get irrigation water for 57,300 hectares and the first plan drawn for this stated that only land on the left bank of the canal would get water. But it was later realised that the east bank land was saline and the alignment was redrawn upward to avoid such infertile land.
The Kutch canal branched off from the main Narmada canal at Salimgadh in Banaskantha and went in the coastal region up to Mundra. The new alignment had also an area of irrigation up to 1,12,700 hectares. "But following the post-quake industrialisation in the same coastal area, a new problem has arisen making the second alignment defunct. For, huge land measuring 18,000 hectares in Mundra taluka, especially in Bhadreshwar-Siracha belt, has become part of the SEZ of Adani group. This requires urgent measures for removing all the fields in the command area of Kutch canal from the SEZ," Thackar said.
He added that no land within two km from both the sides of the canal banks be converted into non-agriculture land. He said that the forest department should also give its forest land for irrigation on lease-hold basis to the farmers of the area. Former GMDC chairman and BJP leader Mukesh Zaveri, who has been appointed as director on the SSNNL board, said the state government was very much interested in reaching the Narmada irrigation water in Kutch at the earliest.