The Karmavad lake and Mukteshwar dam controversy in North Gujarat took an unusual turn on Sunday when 50,000 women wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the water bodies be transferred to the Narmada Command region to help relieve the water crisis.
Residents of the Vadgam constituency have been protesting for several months since the water levels in the Mukteshwar dam and Karmavad lake dropped and are now both drying out. Both of these sources of water should be supplemented with Narmada water, according to public demand.
With local politicians fighting among themselves, the water deficit has turned into a significant political problem. The Vadgam Assembly district, where Jignesh Mevani is the current MLA, includes both reservoirs. He recently used the catchphrase ‘No water, No vote’ to criticise the incumbent government, claiming that they were denying the region access to Narmada water.
‘This issue is not of the last two to three months, people of this area have been crying foul for the last 30 years. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi is well aware of the water shortage in the Vadgam area, as the issue was raised before him when he was the chief minister’, said Ramesh Patel, leader of Karmavad & Mukteshwar Jal Andolan Samiti. He said that 50,000 women from 125 villages had sent the Prime Minister postcards to remind him of his commitment.
The government is calculating the cost of raising water from the Narmada canal. Patel estimates that even if Rs 500 crore is spent on water lifting to fill these reservoirs, the state will recover the cost within a year due to rising subterranean water levels, thriving agriculture, increased demand for tractors, and increased tax revenue.