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Farmers seek details of where 91.5% Narmada dam water was used

Reply to an RTI query has details of 0.40 MAF only against use of 4.68 MAF water

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Gujarat government does not have the record of over 91% of water used from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, the Gujarat Khedut Samaj (GKS) claimed on Tuesday. It has asked Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to find out where this water was utilised. It said that if the government is unable to provide the data in a transparent manner, farmers in the state will believe that the government is hiding information, or even worse, that it is hand in glove in wasting dam water.

GKS Secretary Sagar Rabari had filed a Right To Information (RTI) to Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) seeking information on the quantum of water used for irrigation, household consumption, industrial use, and other purposes in 2017-18 till February. In a reply, SSNNL said that 4.68 million acre feet (MAF) water was used till February 2018. Of this, 278.8681 million cubic metre (MCM) water was used for irrigation, 197.1627 MCM for household consumption, and another 11.8412 MCM for industrial use. Thus a total of 488.8721 MCM water was used till February 2018.

Converting MCM in MAF, Rabari calculated that the government has account of only 0.396 MAF water out of a total of 4.68 MAF used till February 2018. So, the government does not have the account of 4.28 MAF or 91.45% of water use.

Rabari has sought from the CM an inquiry into where the 4.28 MAF water was used. If an inquiry is not conducted in a transparent manner, the days are not far when the government will allocate all the water to its favourite industrialists, he said.

"4.28 MAF (out of 4.68 MAF) is not a small quantum. How is it possible that water meant for farmers is wasted and the authorities have no clue about it?

The matter assumes significance as the state government had on January 12, 2018, claimed that Sardar Sarovar Dam does not have enough water and so farmers should not sow summer crops. In a letter to the CM, Rabari asked whether the data provided in the RTI is accurate or water has been used to meet political goals or if there is rampant corruption in allocation of dam water.

3.35 MAF water used for irrigation in 17-18: SSNNL official

A senior official of SSNNL said that in the water year of 2017-18 (July 1 to June 30), Gujarat was allotted 5.06 MAF water by Narmada Control Authority (NCA) and had used 5.41 MAF water (including the water from Integrated Bypass Tunnel). Of these, 3.35 MAF was used for irrigation, 1.02 MAF for household consumption and 0.03 MAF for industrial use, while the rest was lost in conveyance. "The reply to RTI is specific to the query and cut off date mentioned," said the official.

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