Farmers march against Ongoing Water Scarcity in Gujarat

Tens of thousands of farmers marched on the streets of Surat in Gujarat on 8th January against the continuing water shortage in the district. They also urged the state government to supply water for irrigation purpose for 80 days instead of 42 days during the summer season. Farmers, under the banner of Khedut Samaj, also demanded to withdraw its circular asking growers to not grow paddy next summer.

Farmers, mainly from Kamrej, Bardoli, Olpad, Palsana and Chorryasi tehsils, gathered at Jehangirpura and marched towards the Irrigation Department office in Athwalines area where they had submitted a memo of their demands to S R Mahakal, Superintendent Engineer.

The memorandum, which was addressed to CM Vijay Rupani demanded water for 80 days i.e. 20 days in the month of January & February, 20 days in March & April, 20 days in April & May, and remaining 20 days in May & June.

Following a scarce monsoon last year and less rainfall in the catchment areas, the level of water in Ukai dam remained at 318.56 feet. After which the Irrigation Department decided to release water from the dam for 22 days in March while 20 days in April.

It must be noted that water from Ukai dam is distributed to farmers in Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, and Valsad districts. Last year, the water level in the dam was 323 feet and the government decided to supply water for 116 days on rotation basis.

Jayesh Patel of Khedut Samaj said, “The superintendent engineer has agreed to our demand to withdraw the circular regarding not to sow paddy this summer”.

He further said, “Regarding our demand that water must be given for 80 days (for irrigation) between January to June, the superintendent engineer said that they will hold a meeting in next few days and discuss the matter with chief engineer as well as secretary of Irrigation Department”.

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