Congress assails Modi over Sardar Sarovar dam inauguration

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New Delhi, Sept 17 (PTI): The Congress on Monday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Sardar Sarovar dam inauguration, accusing him of using the project as an “election gimmick”. Congress’ media incharge Randeep Surjewala said Modi is indulging in “misconceived electoral hype, hyperbole and hoopla by yet again inaugurating the Sardar Sarovar Dam”. “Using the world’s second largest dam built by efforts of Congress party and people of Gujarat as an electoral gimmick has become the centrepiece of BJP’s ‘Gujarat Model’ – for this is the only tangible project that would ameliorate people’s conditions, when actually completed.

“The rest of the ‘Gujarat Model’ is engrained with fakery, doublespeak, fallaciousness and falsehood. The BJP is ruling Gujarat since the past 22 years and not even 20 pc of the canal network, creating minors and sub-minors, has been completed,” he said in a statement. Surjewala said the dam reservoir has water but it cannot not reach the fields of the needy farmers in the absence of the canal network.

Claiming that the BJP and Modi government have failed the beneficiaries, he said, the Narmada project in Gujarat remains incomplete even though BJP is in power for the last 22 years, out of which Modi was CM for 14 years. The Congress leader said despite stumbling blocks and challenges, it is only the Congress that strived for the completion of Narmada Valley project. He accused the BJP of being “incompetent and insensitive” and said it has failed the people of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, the beneficiary states.

From the laying of the foundation stone by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961 up till 1987, when its construction work was stalled for environmental reasons and litigations, there were a multitude of insurmountable road blocks, he said, adding that under leadership of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi each blockade was cleared conscientiously and 90 pc of the work was approved for completion. He said water has reache only three lakh hectares out of the planned irrigation of 19 lakh hectares, and asked whether the BJP government and Modi will apologise to Gujarat farmers. He said only 18,803 km of canal network was constructed in the 22 years of BJP rule against planned length of 90,389 km.

At a time when the project is not even complete, keeping in mind the upcoming elections, the BJP has launched another yatra—Narmada Mahotsav Yatra, which the people of Gujarat have “strongly rejected” by staging protests along the route, he said. “This is a befitting reply that the people of Gujarat-especially the farmers – are giving to the BJP for its unpardonable apathy and non- performance,” he said. Surjewala alleged there is “rampant corruption” in the Narmada Nigam and funds are being diverted. He claimed CAG, the government auditor, has confirmed it. “What action have you taken after the exposure of rampant corruption, maladministration and misuse of funds in Narmada Nigam? Why is the BJP shielding the corrupt?” he asked. The Congress leader said the people of Gujarat are “disillusioned” with the “insensitive ‘suit-boot’ policies” of the successive BJP Governments and the leadership of PM Modi, which thrives on “full publicity and zero delivery”.

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