Written by Gopal B Kateshiya
| Rajkot |
February 25, 2021 3:48:38 am
Gordhan Zadaphia addresses an election meeting in Kotda Sangani in Rajkot on Wednesday. (Express Photo)
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Gordhan Zadaphia on Wednesday told farmers that the state government will give them Narmada water for irrigation, Rs 1 lakh compensation in drought years and even supply electricity during daytime so that their “sleep hours are not disturbed,” and asked them not to give the government “sleepless nights.”
Zadaphia, who was campaigning for district and taluka panchayat elections in Rajkot, said that the Gujarat government has opted out of Centre’s crop insurance scheme to avoid farmers’ anger during election time.
Addressing a gathering of farmers in Manekvada village in Kotda Sangani taluka of Rajkot, Zadaphia said it was the BJP government which implemented project to supply Narmada waters to Saurashtra for drinking purpose.
“Before 1995, people in Saurashtra had to carry barrels of drinking water with them to their farms… When we came to power for the first time in 1995 and Keshubapa (Patel) became the chief minister, our first decision was to pump Narmada waters to Saurashtra for drinking purpose. Congress would mock as saying how one can take Narmada water to Kathiawad (Saurashtra). But we gave water to 4,500 villages within 2.5 years” Zadaphia said.
The senior BJP leader said that the next step was water conservation by constructing check-dams and diverting floodwaters of Narmada for filling up dams in parts of Saurashtra not served by canals of Narmada project for irrigation. “Farmers have exhausted aquifers by exploiting them through mono-block and submersible pumps… It is BJP that has done the act of kindness of replenishing groundwater sources and give the mother earth its milk back by constructing 1.5 lakh check-dams… In 2013, Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister then, announced to fill dams of Saurashtra by diverting one million acre feet (MAF) floodwaters of Narmada through SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana). Till today, 80 dams have been filled up by pumping Narmada waters into them through SAUNI pipelines and 115 more would be filled up by end of next year but you push (BJP) button,” Zadaphia said.
The former home minister of Gujarat also assured farmers that government would supply them electricity during daytime. “You were demanding electricity during daytime. We have started doing that in 2,000 villages from this year and by 2022, we shall give electricity during daytime to farmers across the state… We will give power in two shifts—four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening after you have had your siesta. We don’t want to disturb your time for sleep but in return, don’t give us sleepless nights,” Zadaphia said.
The BJP leader further said that the state government paid Rs 37,000 crore to farmers towards compensation against crop loss caused by excessive rainfall this year and the Centre has paid Rs 4.5 lakh crore to 14.5 crore farmers of the country in the past five years under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
He said that to escape farmers ire during election times, the state government had opted out of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana of the Centre this year. He added that instead, the government has preferred the route of paying compensation from disaster relief fund. “You won’t have to pay any premium and yet, in case you encounter a drought, our government will credit Rs 25,000 per hectare and Rs1 lakh per four hectare in your bank accounts,” added Zadaphia.