Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Govt team to probe saltpan floods

Times of India: Gandhinagar: Tuesday, December 09, 2014.
Experts Will Look Into The Source Of Water Threatening Workers' Livelihood.
Aiming to get to the root of the problem, the state government has decided to constitute a team to probe the flooding along Kharaghoda-Zinjuvada branch canal of Narmada project that has been posing a threat to the livelihood of saltpan workers in Little Rann of Kutch, especially near Kharaghoda in Patdi taluka of Surendranagar district.
These saltpan workers are caught between two extremes as on one side they struggle for drinking water that is supplied by government tankers and on the other the flooding threatens to wash away their salt produce. “We are probing the source of flood water. We are in the process of constituting a team that would include retired experts to study the phenomenon,“ said an official. The experts are being identified and basic data is being collected for the study.
“We are looking towards roping in people who know the area very well in terms of its topography, rock structure and its porosity,“ he added.
While the saltpan workers claim that it is the over flowing canal that is the cause of the problem, the officials at ground level have been denying that it is Narmada water going into the Little Rann.
“It is here that the need for such a study arose. There are chances that the water over drawn by farmers in the fields adjacent to the Little Rann might be seeping inside the earth and resurfacing at some places near the saltpans,“ said an official.
Another line of thought is that at the dead ends of the branch or micro canals, the water that has not been drawn tends to spill over and flood the adjoining areas.
“We do not want the water to go waste. Neither do we want the saltpan workers to loose their produce. A solution will be found to the problem,“ the official said.
There are around 10,000 saltpan workers inside Rann in Kharaghoda region including women and children.
The TOI had recently reported that over 200 saltpans were flooded with water.The locals claimed that it was continuously coming from Kharaghoda-Zinjuvada canal. This flooding would lead to each saltpan facing a loss of Rs 30,000.

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