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Works worth Rs 1,265 cr to begin in Kutch branch canal

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Flooded in controversy: A file photo of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada River.
Flooded in controversy: A file photo of Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada River.

The Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, will lay the foundation stone for five major construction works related to the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) project, part of the mammoth Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada river, on Saturday.

All command area development (CAD) works in Kutch, with an estimated cost of Rs. 4,600 crore are expected to be completed in three years, State Water Supply Minister Nitin Patel said in a statement here today.

‘fruit bowl'

The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) would contribute Rs. 200 crore for the conservation of wild life sanctuary in the arid district, implying an estimated cost of around Rs. 7 lakh each wild ass. The project will ensure gravity-based flow of Narmada water in the entire district. For this, three pumping stations, to be set up at a cost of Rs 518 crore, will lift water to a height of 60 meter, equivalent to a 20-storeyed building, he added.

The Narmada waters are expected to transform the parched land in Kutch into a fruit bowl.

The KBC, a man-made 360-km long river, the longest one among all the 96 rivers running through Kutch, will be the only perennial one in the district.

Mr S. Jagadeesan, Managing Director, SSNNL, said it took around two years to take approval from Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for the passage of the KBC through the sanctuary. The contractors will look after the maintenance of the KBC for five years.

benefits

Upon completion of the CAD works, the benefits of irrigation will be available to more than 2.78 lakh acres of land in 182 villages of seven talukas of Kutch district.

Already, Narmada water had been made available for domestic use in 792 villages and 7 towns of Kutch districts.

With the completion of the projects, a total of 883 villages and 8 towns, respectively, will have this benefit.

Out of the total KBC length of 360 km, a 33-km-long stretch has already been completed with water flowing in it. The work for the Morbi and Limbdi branch canals will be commenced by SSNNL on April 18 and 22, respectively, Mr Patel said.

Cost estimates

The revised cost estimate for the entire Sardar Sarovar Project Rs 39,240 crore. Works on mainly canal network in North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch regions have already been taken up.

Tenders for 75 canal works in these areas with estimated cost of Rs. 4,375 crore have been finalized so far. The remaining CAD works worth Rs. 3,400 crore are either going through estimation or bidding stage.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 8, 2011)
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