The Gujarat Congress today claimed that 43,000 kms of canals were yet to be built as part of the Narmada project despite the BJP ruling the state for 22 years. The Narmada project was planned to irrigate 19 lakh hectares of land. But only 3.70 lakh hectares of land has been covered due to the “BJP’s negligence”. This has resulted in a loss of Rs 1 lakh crore to the people, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh alleged. “Though the BJP claims that the project is completed, over 43,000 kms of canals are yet to be built. Instead of blaming the Congress for the delay, the BJP should be held accountable for it,” he said. “If we are voted to power, we will take up the work on a priority basis by allocating separate fund for the construction of the remaining canal network,” he said.
Solanki also came down heavily on the BJP government for organising the “Narmada Mahotsava Yatra”, claiming that such a yatra is aimed to placate angry farmers and tribals, who have not received the benefits of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and its network of canals.
“People do not want such yatras, they want water,” said Solanki, who was accompanied by AICC spokesperson and senior Gujarat Congress leader, Shaktisinh Gohil. Gohil asked the PM to tell the people why the project got delayed during his visit to Vadodra on September 17.
“When the Congress was ruling the state (before 1995), we never used the issue for votes. The work on the dam was stalled till 1987 because of environmental clearances. It was Rajiv Gandhi who cleared that hurdle. 90 per cent of the canals were constructed during the Congress rule,” he claimed.
“As our PM is visiting Gujarat, I want to ask him why 43,000 kms of the canal network is still incomplete? I wish he explains this delay during his visit, as the BJP is in power here for 22 years and he was the chief minister from 2001 till 2014,” Gohil said. Elections to the 182-member assembly in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are likely to be held by the year-end.