As Narmada goes dry, environmentalist asks: Where’s Gujarat govt’s water policy?

CV News/ Friday, May 17, 2019Senior Ahmedabad-based environmentalist Mahesh Pandya has sharply criticised the Gujarat government for failing to come up with water policy despite “grim” situation across the state. Pandya, who heads Paryavaran Mitra, told a seminar jointly called by the Gujarat Institute for Civil Engineers and Architects and Public Cause and Environment that the water level in the Sardar Sarovar dam is 119 metres, yet Narmada downstream is dry.”Sea waters are intruding into Narmada, salinity has gripped the villages along two sides of of the river, yet chief minister Vijay Rupani is dreaming of water tourism for 12 kilometres downstream of the dam, by filling up 32 metres water”, Pandya said, adding, “Plans to have a barrage at Bhadbhut at the mouth of Narmada allegedly to stop salinity ingress invading the river are being toyed since 2012, yet nothing has happened.”Pointing out that the plan to bring to life dead rivers too has gone awry, Pandya said, industrial units across Gujarat are releasing untreated waters into rivers such as Sabarmati and Damanganga, harming groundwater quality. “Even the Government of India admitted on February 8, 2019 that Gujarat’s 22 rivers are polluted”, he said.All this is happening at a time when effluent treatment plants meant to discharge treated water are failing to work to their full capacity, he said, adding, “At several places, the pipelines carrying untreated water has broken down, polluting, for instance, farms of Padra in Central Gujarat, known as the state’s vegetable basket.”