Letter to the President of India regarding Saurashtra-Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana

PUCL Gujarat

Hon'ble President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhavan,

New Delhi 110 004

 

His Excellency the President,

Respectful Greetings!

We have been given to understand from the newspaper reports that during your visit to Gujarat you are scheduled to lay foundation stone for the 4th Link as part of "Sauni Scheme", Saurashtra-Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana) of Saurashtra.

Presuming that these reports are true we beg to bring to your kind attention to the C.A.G.'s Report No. 6 for the year 2016 on the Economic Report on Gujarat Government, Copy enclosed). Audit Report has been received by the Government in March 2017. As contained therein there was contradiction amongst the different wings of the Government. The Government had commenced the work without passing through the stage of techno-economic scrutiny, Check list).

This scheme has become controversial on account of contradiction between Water Resources Department and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam. It is felt that the root cause for this is attributable to commencement of the works without adequate appraisal or evaluation. Controversy has originated due to hasty commencement of the works without augmenting the branch canals and confirmation of adequate water availability. The Water Resources Department had pressurized the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam which had refused or resisted against it as it would have impacted on the planning of the entire scheme. Even then, the Water Resources Department did not pay any heed to it.

We feel that since there is no techno-economic clearance by the Govt. of India and no green signal is received for the planning and check lists by the Central experts then by overlooking all this, if foundation stone laying ceremony is performed then it would place the status and dignity of the President in an awkward and embarrassing situation. Announcement or declaration of the scheme had already been made by the then Chief Minister in the course of electioneering meeting. The Central Government had also refused to fund or finance the expenditure.

As such when this Scheme has not been cleared from the parameters techno-economic and administrative feasibility as also water availability and is stuck in up in controversy then it does not appear to be proper for yourself to lay the foundation stone for the scheme.

We request your good self that you may thoroughly review the scheme keeping in view the status and dignity of the President's post so that dignity of your post could be maintained. Otherwise in the recent past the Prime Minister had graced the occasion by inaugural switching on the system but soon after the Central Government had refused to provide finances and that too on the grounds of nonfeasibility of techno-economical and water availability issues and hence since the scheme is at a stage where its future is uncertain, then your kindself ought to avoid such controversy.

Sir, we are not against Narmada Project and do wish that people should get adequate water in well planned and timely manner but when there appears to be repetition of Sujalam - Sufalam schemes with lot of irregularities and when the Scheme is made use of merely for political gain in the times of ensuring election then it becomes opportune in the interest of the public and we also deem it as our duty.

With Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Suresh Chandra Mehta, Former Chief Minister, Gujarat; Indukumar Jani, Editor, Naya Marg; Prakash N. Shah, Editor – Neerikshak; Gautam Thaker, General Secretary, PUCL – Gujarat; Rajni Dave, President, Gujarat Sarvoday Mandal; Mahesh Pandya, Gujarat Social Watch; Vipul Pandya Prof. Rohit Shukla Sukhdev Patel, Babubhai Vaghela Harinesh Pandya Pravinsinhji Jadeja, Nafeesa Barot Siddhu Sukhchen Singh Govindbhai Jadav

 

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Related Bulletin : Oct 2017