Gandhinagar, 15 July 2020
In Gujarat, when the Narmada project was being planned, it is now proving that the politicians have misled the farmers by making many populists to sway their party’s votes. Irrigation in 18.50 lakh hectares in Narmada canals is barely 20 percent of what should be done today. The BJP government has proved to be utterly incompetent in building canals.
This has happened during the time of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They call it Gujarat model but due to their failure to complete the Narmada project, farmers have turned to well-based irrigation.
Farmers have had to build wells or borewells as canals do not reach their farms. According to the government’s latest agricultural report, well irrigation has increased to 40 lakh hectares in 10 years. This literally means that the government has completely failed to provide canal or dam based irrigation. Because of this, the groundwater is being drawn by an electric motor. Bore water is 98 percent more expensive for farmers than canals.
According to the latest official report released by the government, bore wells are currently being used to irrigate 72 lakh hectares in Gujarat. In which 27 lakh hectares are irrigated by subterranean borewells and 18 lakh hectares by other wells. These figures are the latest figures released by the Department of Agriculture for 2016-17.
Against this 10 years, ago i.e. in 2006-07 11.33 lakh hectares were irrigated by abyssal well-borewell. Simple wells irrigated a total of 33.7 lakh hectares out of 21.73 lakh hectares. Thus, against a total of 33 lakhs, in 10 years, 72 lakh hectares are being cultivated by wells. The 105 percent well has increased over the last 10 years.
This literally means that the number of borewells was 98 thousand and the number of wells was 8 lakh to 9 lakh wells. The total wells for drinking water and many others were 10 lakhs. It has doubled in 10 years. Farmers are having to cultivate by getting expensive water from the abyss which was supposed to get irrigation by building new dams.
In 2006-07, 4 lakh electric motors and 4.60 lakh oil engines were used for expensive farming. Today, farmers are irrigating with 4 lakh motor oil engines and 6 lakh motors.