Gandhinagar, July 15 (IANS) Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani clashed over extent of land being irrigated by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam waters, in the Assembly on Monday with the former accusing the Congress leader of misleading people by claiming that only 600,000 hectares had been cultivated by the dam waters.
Patel, also the Finance Minister, rose to make the clarification about Dhanani’s statement in the House on Saturday that Narmada waters had reached only 600,000 hectares of farmlands against the state government’s claims of over 16 lakh hectares.
“Dhanani had cited the latest Socio-Economic Review to make his claims, while the report does not make any mention of this figure. It is clearly stated that 16 lakh hectares of the total 17.92 lakh hectares planned to be cultivated by Narmada dam waters has been covered,” Patel said.
He demanded that the Congress leader tender an apology for misleading the House and creating a negative impression in the minds of people.
Responding to the Deputy Chief Minister, Dhanani said, “My point was, and is, very clear. There is no disputing the official government figure of 16 lakh hectares, but the Socio-Economic Review only states that this is the irrigation potential that had been created and not the actual extent of the fields receiving Narmada waters.”
While seeking time from Speaker Rajendra Trivedi to prove his point, Dhanani said the government documents stated that less than 66 per cent of the fields were being irrigated by Narmada dam waters.
“I am willing to do sit-ups in the House if I proven wrong. I stick to my position,” the Leader of the Opposition said.