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Ahmedabad: Saturday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today urged the Prime Minister to allow early completion of the gates atop the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam across the Narmada and grant Central funds to bear 90 per cent cost of the Narmada Command Desert Development Programme under A.I.B.P.

Laying the foundation stones of five projects for Kutch district at the taluka town of Rapar, he exuded confidence the Narmada waters would soon make the dry region lush green. While Kutch had become a development model in the country, he said, it would also become a model of green agricultural revolution. The migration of people from Kutch to Mumbai and elsewhere might stop, too.

He said that the plan is there to recharge the seasonal rivulets in the district with the Narmada water. With the arrival of canal water in the fields of Gujarat, he said, the days of energizing water pumps are gone. He called for judiciously use of water with the sprinkler irrigation system. He said WASMO has got international award, because of women's empowerment for sharing water through water users' association particularly in the Kutch district for the last five years. It is time to replicate the success story all around, he said.

The Chief Minister said the SSP was started in 1961 but took 50 years to reach the Kutch shores embroiled as it was in political and other controversies. Mr. Modi laid the stones for total five projects for the 360-km long Narmada branch canal network for the Kutch district involving a total investment of Rs.4.600-crore, including two branch canals of 82-km each in Rapar taluka worth Rs.1.265-crore and three 20-storeyed pumping stations for lifting water to a higher elevation.

Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel said that Gujarat has a habit of converting its problems into mass movements as it did in spreading girls' education and ‘save girl' campaign and now has decided to double the income of Kutch farmers through canal irrigation project.

Water Resources Minister Nitin Patel said the Kutch had started getting Narmada water for drinking purposes through a pipeline project since 2003. It will soon reach the district for irrigation also.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNL) managing director S. Jagdeesan, joint managing director K. Srinivas, director Mukesh Zaveri.

Gujarat Information Bureau

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