Exhorting farmers to adopt modern technology, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government has decided to double their income by 2022 when India would celebrate 75 years of Independence. Modi made the announcement while dedicating the Rs 1,500 -crore phase I of link-II pipeline canal of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) project to the people and laying the foundation stone for Rs 1,694-crore phase II of link II of the project. The phase II of the project envisages laying of a 74- kilometre pipeline network connecting Bhimdad dam to seven other dams in Botad and Bhavnagar districts.
The SAUNI scheme would take water from Narmada to 115 dams in the parched Saurashtra region. The PM asked farmers to adopt modern farming methods like drip irrigation and said his government has decided to double the farmers’ income by 2022.
“Centre has decided to double farmers’ income by 2022 by improving technology, increasing milk production, use of solar light, honey production. Fifteen years ago people would not have thought that we can come out of drought-like situation (in this region),” he said.
“We will have to make it our nature to adopt modern technology. Entire government — be it the Central government or the state governments — and banks should come under your mobile phone,” he said, while urging the people to download BHIM app and earn money by helping others to download it. Being a former CM, he understood farmers’ issues better, he said.
“I am the first person to become the PM after serving as a CM for a long time. And that is why I know how much farmers are troubled when they do not get urea or water in time. For me, it is easy to understand people’s problems,” he said.
“When as the Gujarart chief minister I would go to the Centre for meetings and say that we spend a large part of our budget on water, many would criticise me saying you cannot win elections that way. I don’t work to win elections but to serve the people of Gujarat. It is only water and not money that can make rural Gujarat progress,” the Prime Minister said. “Today Goddess Narmada herself has descended to bless the people here. Water is like God, we have no right to waste it,” he said.
Modi also praised Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his `Narmada Yatra’ campaign.
“Gujarat farmers should be grateful to Chouhan government. To ensure that the Gujarat farmers do not face any water scarcity, the MP government has organised Narmada Yatra and asked people to plant trees along its (Narmada’s) banks,” he said.
“Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of the BJP is raising forests so that Mother Narmada does not go dry even after hundred years,” Modi said. The project which Modi dedicated to the region today comprises a 51-kilometre network of underground pipeline to carry Narmada water from Limbdi-Bhogavo-II Dam in Surendranagar district to Bhimdad Dam in Botad district.
Last August, the Prime Minister had dedicated phase 1 of Link-I canal network of the project. SAUNI Yojana envisages channelling floodwater through Narmada Dam project by laying 1,126-kilometre network of pipelines to feed 115 reservoirs in Saurashtra and irrigate 10.22 lakh acres of land.