Rajkot, March 7: With the rising number of farmers committing suicides in Saurashtra region of the country, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday accused the previous Congress-led governments of neglecting the needs of farmers. Rupani also alleged that Congress-led governments ruined agriculture in Saurashtra and ‘parched people to death’, and did not even bother to complete the Narmada dam project on time.
The Gujarat CM while addressing a public rally near the site of Shetrunji dam in Palitana taluka in Rajkot attacked the Congress party. He said, as reported by the Indian Express, “For years, Saurashtra kept on longing for drinking water, let aside their need for irrigation water there was shortage of drinking water. Villages and towns of the region were struggling, women had to walk miles for a potful of water. We have seen such scenes. I want to ask my friends from Congress why you did not complete the Narmada dam project on time after laying its foundation stone in 1960.” Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal Merge Schemes with PM-KISAN to Boost Farmers’ Income by 15%.
Adding more, he said, “For years, lakhs of cusecs of water drained into the sea even as Saurashtra, Kutch and north Gujarat went thirsty. For seven years, you did not give permission to install gates (on Narmada dam) because Modi was an eyesore for you. You committed the sin of parching people of Gujarat to death for seven years.”
Accusing the Congress as the root cause of agrarian distress in Saurashtra, Rupani said, “Farmers were pleading for water and electricity. They were crying day and night and incidents of suicides kept on increasing. You are the root cause of it. Agriculture suffered in Saurashtra for lack of irrigation water and farmers of the region kept on being buried under mountains of debts. You never thought about them.”
Rupani was of the opinion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government gave the permission to install gates on the Narmada dam 17 days after he took oath as the Prime Minister of the country, while Congress governments were shedding crocodile tears in the name of farmers for years. Maharashtra: Farmer Hangs Self Over Bank Loan, Drought Stress in Ahmednagar District.
The statements of the CM comes in the wake of farmers’ suicides in Saurashtra, allegedly because of crop failure due to deficient monsoon and rising debts. Reports state that half-a-dozen farmer committed suicides in the region over the last four months.
Boasting the development projects of BJP-government, while inaugurating the second phase of link-II of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana (SAUNI), CM Rupani said that this would help the farmers get adequate quantity of water for irrigation. Earlier on Monday, PM Modi had inaugurated second phases of the link I and III in Jamnagar. Also, the inauguration comes days before the announcement of poll dates for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 by the Election Commission. Acche Din For Farmers? Monsoon in India Expected 'Normal' in 2019 by Private Forecast Agency.
According to the Sauni project, Narendra Modi government in Gujarat had announced to lift floodwaters fed by canals of the Narmada dam and pump it to 115 dams of Saurashtra in 2012 – while he was the Chief Minister of the state. Under the project, the state irrigation department is laying four trunk lines called link I, II, III and IV, which is a 1300-kilometre long network of giant pipelines to augment irrigation facilities and provide drinking water.