SAUNI snippets

Despite skepticism over its viability, the government plans to start work on ambitious Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (SAUNI) scheme by October end. The three phased project is to be completed in a span of four years.
The project envisages filling of irrigation dams of Saurashtra with one million acre feet of surplus Narmada water at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore. Its critics say the government is trying to serve old wine in new bottle. A plan to utilize surplus Narmada waters was reportedly first outlined by Narmada Planning Group in a report titled ‘Planning for Prosperity’ in 1987, wherein a chapter talked of augmenting “extra monsoon water” in Narmada in Saurashtra, Kutch and north Gujarat. It suggested lifting Narmada waters 20 metres high for transfer to Saurashtra. It also concluded that the reliability of transfer was “very low”. Hence, it was left for an expert hydrological study to work out the details.
Officials questioning its viability say if there is surplus monsoon water available, it is available for the entire state and the Narmada network can easily help take it to Saurashtra or Kutch if required.
Officials implementing the scheme said that in the first phase to be completed in two years, 50 km of pipeline network would be laid costing Rs 4,000 crore.
The project will have four links. These would be from Matchu-2 to Sani in East Saurashtra, from Kalubhar to Raydi, from Dholidhaja to Venu and from Bhogavo to Hiran-2. The dams, which will see replenishment, include 30 dams in Rajkot, 28 in Jamnagar, 13 in Junagadh, nine in Amreli, five in Surendranagar and four in Porbandar district.
Sources said a pumping station would be installed at point zero of all the four links. These stations would have eight pumps each with two extra as stand by. They would have a capacity of pumping around five cubic metre per second. More pumping stations with less powerful pumps would have to be set up down the links. The cost of setting up one pumping station at ground zero has been worked to be around Rs 50 crore.
Sources said pumping would require about 3,85,000 KW of power per annum. The operation and management cost of the project in Saurashtra would be around Rs 200 crore per annum.

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