Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate phase-I of the Link-II pipeline canal of the ambitious Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojna in Botad district on Monday. This will be second milestone in the Rs12,000 crore project to pump Narmada water in 115 dams of arid Saurashtra region after the PM dedicated to public phase-I of the Link-I canal in August last year.
Modi is expected to land in Botad at around 4 pm and formally release Narmada water in Krushnasagar dam near Botad. Later, he will address a public meeting near Pathan ginning factory on Hadadad road on the outskirts of Botad town. While the Link-I canal will take water to 30 dams in Jamnagar and Devbhoomi Dwarka districts, the Link-II canal is designed to pump Narmada water in 17 dams spread across Botad, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.
The 253-kilometre long pipeline of Link-II originates from Limdi Bhogavo-II dam near Limdi and is planned to terminate at Raidy dam in Amreli district. The phase-I of this pipeline covers a distance of 51 kilometre and brings water from Limdi Bhogavo-II to Bhimdad dam in Gadhda taluka of Botad district. A state government release said that the phase-I of the Link-II had been completed at the cost of Rs1,313 crore. The phase-I will fill up Bhimdad dam which has total storage capacity of 239 million cubic feet (MCFT) and Krushnasagar dam which was a source of drinking water for Botad town till a few years ago.
SAUNI Yojna is a project to divert one million acre feet (MAFT) of floodwaters of Narmada to Saurashtra region and fill up 115 reservoirs of Saurashtra through a 1,126-kilometre-long network of giant pipelines. The project envisages to channel the floodwater, which otherwise overflows the Narmada dam during monsoon and drains into the sea, to Saurashtra through Narmada main canal and Saurashtra branch canal (CBC) of the Narmada dam project.
The SBC lands in Dholidhaja dam in Surendranagar. Botad branch canal (BBC) originates from the Dholidhaja dam and fills up Limdi Bhogavo-II dam along the way. The pipeline network has been divided into four links. Each link has been sub-divided into three phases for execution of work. The entire SAUNI project targets to provide irrigation water for 10.22 lakh acres of land in Saurashtra region.
After the work of laying pipeline and constructing pumping stations got over, engineers started pumping water in Krushnasagar dam and Bhimdad dam from Saturday. The release stated that the phase-I of the Link-II will make available irrigation water for around 12,000 acres of land in Botad district. While residents of Bhimdad have been gathering near the escape gate in SAUNI pipeline for Bhimdad dam for the last two days, officers of Bhavnagar irrigation circle told The Indian Express that there is no plan to fill up the dam as of now.