Gandhinagar, 27 Novebmer 2020
BJP governments have been claiming that abundant water of Narmada project is being given to farmers. But the reality is different. Where water is available from the canal, there is always an increase in waterlogged crops like paddy, banana and sugarcane. But despite the Narmada project in Gujarat, sugarcane cultivation is decreasing rather than increasing for the last 10 years. 40861 ha area has declined in the last 10 years. Plantation declined by 20.23 percent.
No benefit of sugarcane from Narmada canal
10 years ago 12.2 million tonnes of sugarcane was produced. Which now produces 11.7 million tonnes of sugarcane. In 2001-02, 1.78 lakh hectares were planted. Currently, sugarcane cultivation is 1.50 lakh hectares. It is claimed that either farmers choose not to grow sugarcane due to government policies or there is no water from the Narmada project.
Sugarcane at 1.50 lakh instead of 10 lakh hectare
The Narmada Canal was for irrigating an area of 18 lakh hectares. Actually, the Narmada canal was expected to grow at least 1 lakh hectares of sugarcane. But more than 5 lakh hectare is irrigated, how sugarcane be grown there. One hectare produces 70,000 tonnes of sugarcane. It was actually to be developed due to Narmada. Currently, sugarcane cultivation is 1.50 lakh hectares.
Where Narmada benefited the most
The biggest beneficiaries of the Narmada project were Ahmedabad and Surendranagar. Not even one hectare of sugarcane has been planted there. Not only this, in the districts where Narmada canals pass, sugarcane cultivation is not done in Gandhinagar, Banaskantha, Kheda, Mehsana, Kutch and Anand districts. The land is also of sugarcane. Sugarcane canal is found only in Narmada, Narmada, Botad. But it cooks less than canal water.
Rich cultivation of sugarcane where there is no Narmada
Where there is no Narmada project, sugarcane cultivation is mostly done through dams. The areas where sugarcane is grown most in Gujarat have canal facilities. Districts like Somnath Tapi, Navsari, Morbi, Surat, Junagadh, Dang, Valsad, Bharuch, Vadodara have local dams like Ukai, Curzon. They cultivate sugarcane from it.
But the fact that sugarcane farmers do not grow sugarcane in Narmada canal areas means that farmers do not get sufficient water from Narmada or where there is water, farmers do not trust Narmada Authority.