Prime Minister Modi touched on the history of water scarcity in Gujarat, highlighting the undying spirit of Gujarat’s people that, he said, gives them the strength to deal with any adversity with whatever resources they have.
In days running up to the Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday unveiled plans for a slew of water supply project in Northern Gujarat. Laying the foundation stone for the project worth over Rs. 8,000 at Tharad in Banaskantha, the Prime Minister said that the projects will help extend irrigation facilities to more than six districts of Gujarat including Banaskantha, Patan and Mehsana.
The projects include water conservation schemes to irrigate over one thousand villages of the six districts of North Gujarat.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony, Prime Minister Modi touched on the history of water scarcity in Gujarat, highlighting the undying spirit of Gujarat’s people that, he said, gives them the strength to deal with any adversity with whatever resources they have.
“Banaskantha is a living and breathing example of this”, PM Modi said as he highlighted the development works that have transformed the district today.
Prime Minister spoke of the times when the districts of North Gujarat had fluoride contaminated water, impacting agriculture. Such was the condition, he said, that landowners couldn’t find buyers for their land.
He said, “Since I have become a ‘sevak’ of the land, it was our government that identified the problems of the region and worked towards completing them with utmost dedication and sincerity.”
He congratulated Banaskantha district for establishing a drip irrigation network of over 4 lakh hectares of farmland. Praising the fighting spirit of Gujarat, Modi said that Gujarat has always beaten the odds and overcome the challenges.
North Gujarat’s arid region has witnessed a massive transformation in the last 20 years following the constant efforts of the government towards water conservation, he said, praising the people of the region who have silenced all the critics with their effort and dedication and made the Sujalam-Sufalam Yojna a grand success.
The Prime Minister said that the government has focussed on preventing rainwater from flowing into the sea, ensuring construction of check dams, and successful implementation of the Sujalam Sufalam Yojana in the North Gujarat region over the past 20 years.
“We focussed on water conservation, built check dams and ponds,” he said, dishing out examples of Sujalam-Sufalam Yojna, Wasmo Yojna and Pani Samitis and of drip irrigation and the ‘per drop more crop’ model that have boosted agriculture and tourism in the region.
Banaskantha’s micro irrigation techniques have drawn the attention of the entire country and also led to worldwide recognition, he said.
“Today, Banaskanta is writing its own chapter in the history of development,” he said, speaking of how 4 lakh hectares of land in Banaskantha are dedicated to using drip and micro irrigation that has resulted in the water table not getting depleted further. “This is not just benefiting you but also securing the lives of future generations.”
Election time in Gujarat
He also underlined the crucial role played by women that has led to the transformation of the North Gujarat region, including Kutch.
Gujarat is due to go to the polls very soon and the model code of conduct is set to kick in anytime in the coming days.
“One hand we have the Banas Dairy while on the other hand a 100 MW Solar Power Plant, we have accomplished the goal of getting tap water to every house in the region” the Prime Minister added.
Modi reiterated government’s commitment to strengthening agriculture and allied sectors including dairy, and cattle rearing to boost the economic development of the villages and spoke of how the government is providing fertilizers to farmers at affordable prices despite the global price hike. He said the central government is also providing assistance to the farmers to establish cold storage networks, food processing plants.
Later in the day, with Gujarat’s politicians on the stage in Ahmedabad, the Prime Minister also inaugurated two railway projects worth over Rs. 2900 crores.