Sachin Pilot writes to PM Modi, urges national project status for East Rajasthan Canal ProjectUpdated: Oct 04, 2020, 16:07 IST
Sachin Pilot, the former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has demanded a national project status to the desert state’s ambitious East Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).
The ERCP proposes to provide drinking water to 13 districts of Rajasthan and irrigation water for 2.8 lakh hectares (ha) of land through 26 large and medium size projects.
Pilot stated the ERCP would prove to be a lifeline for Rajasthan’s 13 districts.
In these districts, animal husbandry and agriculture is a major occupation of the people but depleting ground water availability is adversely affecting farming, he said.
“The NITI Aayog has also included Dholpur and Karauli districts in eastern Rajasthan in the category of aspirational districts as they are semi-developed,” said Pilot.
It is a well-known fact that for development of any area, water availability is a must for which the ERCP was conceptualised and submitted to the central government.
“Even you (the PM) had assured of considering the project in a meeting held in Jaipur in 2018,” said Pilot, who represents Tonk in the Rajasthan legislative assembly.
Rajasthan’s geographical area is 10% of the country’s landmass, but only 1.16% and 1.72% of surface and ground water, respectively, is available in the desert state.
Pilot cited that of the 295 blocks in the state, 245 are under dark or critical zones. He said the state government has submitted the ERCP in a bid to bring 2.8 lakh hectares under irrigation, which required the Centre’s approval and financing.
“The project will accelerate the development not only in eastern parts of Rajasthan but of the entire state. I have requested the PM to give technical sanction and financial assistance for the project, which is Rs 37,247 crore,” said Pilot, the former chief of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC).
Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur are the 13 districts that are under the ERCP.
The project seeks to ensure availability of sufficient water for drinking and irrigation by 2051 in Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts.
Earlier, the Rajasthan governments, led by incumbent CM Ashok Gehlot, and his predecessor Vaundhara Raje, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had raised the demand of granting a national project status to the ERCP.
In February, Gehlot had written to Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who represents the Jodhpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, and had urged him to ensure that the ERCP is granted the status of a national project.
Gehlot had also raised the issue before PM Modi during a meeting of NITI Aayog in June, 2019. He had reminded Modi about his promise made during a public meeting in Rajasthan and urged him to give an early approval to the ERCP as a national project.