Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase of Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) project at Aji 3 dam near Jamnagar in Gujarat on Tuesday.
Later at Sanosara, Modi addressed his first public rally in Gujarat after becoming the Prime Minister.
The SAUNI irrigation project will cater to the region that is the heartland of Patidars, or the Patel community, which is up in arms over the demand for OBC quota.
About 150 members of the Patidar community, who were on their way to protest against the Prime Minister’s visit, were detained.
However, top Patidar businessmen and industrialists from the region have issued full page advertisements in Gujarat’s newspapers, welcoming the Prime Minister Modi to the state.
WATCH: PM Modi inaugurates the first phase of SAUNI project at Aji Dam site in Jamnagar, Gujarathttps://t.co/EDwBWE0H6j— ANI (@ANI_news) August 30, 2016
At Sanosara, Modi talked about his government’s welfare efforts. He talked about his government’s campaign to empower the girl child as well as irrigation schemes.
Modi travelled by road to Aji-3 dam to inaugurate the project after landing at the Jamnagar airport, instead of taking a helicopter ride owing to bad weather conditions. As monsoon has been active over Jamnagar for the past few days, the plan to travel by helicopter was dropped.
The first phase of the SAUNI project will cover 105 villages, including 47,943 hectares of land.
Farmers can reap both Kharif and Rabi crop -- as opposed to Kharif crop cultivation so far -- once the project makes more water accessible for agriculture.
Though the project will not be added to the command area under irrigation, it will strengthen the existing network by providing 1 acre million cubic feet of surplus Narmada water from the Sardar Sarovar Dam through a new pipeline network connecting existing dams.
Of the total 138 dams in Saurashtra, 115 dams will be provided Narmada waters through the SAUNI Yojana, which was first announced by Modi during his tenure as the Gujarat chief minister.
Through this scheme, the excess overflowing flood water of Narmada river will be distributed to various reservoirs in eleven districts of Saurashtra region through 1,126-km-long four-link pipelines. The scheme will supply water for irrigation to agricultural land of about 10.22 lakh acres and drinking water to 731 villages and 31 towns.