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Guj govt cracks down on water theft from canals

Guj govt cracks down on water theft from canals

Ahmedabad: Police have registered 37 First Information Reports (FIRs) over illegal drawing of water from Narmada canals in various parts of Gujarat, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said Wednesday.

Police and the administration are taking strict action against those who draw water illegally from Narmada canals which take water of Sardar Sarovar Dam to various parts of the state, he said in a statement here.

As many as 37 FIRs have been lodged in this regard in the recent weeks, he added.

In a relief to farmers who plan to sow Rabi crops, 19,920 cusecs of water is being released in Narmada canals since November 12 from Sardar Sarovar Dam, the minister said.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani chaired a cabinet meeting where issues related to water scarcity in the wake of a weak monsoon were discussed.

Gujarat received only 76.72 per cent rainfall this season.

Revenue minister Kaushik Patel told the media after the meeting in Gandhinagar that the government will provide seven crore kg of fodder in scarcity-hit areas.

The government has already declared 51 taulks (tehsils) as `scarcity-hit' while a special package has been declared for another 45 taluks which received scanty rains, he said.

A team led by Minister of State for Backward Class Welfare Vasan Ahir will visit Punjab Thursday to examine the possibility to importing wheat crop stubble from that state to be used as cattle fodder, he said.

"It was also decided that in view of poor rains, the government will provide 150 days of employment, instead of the usual 100 days, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in affected areas," Patel said.

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