Ahmedabad: On the eve of 66th Independence Day, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in his message to the people of the state, expressed concern over deficient rains, but expressed hope that his government would set an example of how to deal with the situation with the public participation.
He blamed the Centre for not allowing increase in the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam, saying had the Centre allowed putting of gate on Narmada dam, Gujarat could have had three times more water, and not worry about even a severe drought.
According to Met Department officials, the state has 62 per cent deficient rains so far.
"This year the God has subjected us to a test. Sometimes, it seems that God wants us to never forget the value of water," Modi said.
"But, we -- the government and the people -? will join hands to pass through this trial.... There is no reason why we can`t use this situation for constructing the resources of water conservation, making people aware of the value of water, saving greenery, evoking compassion for animals and for combining all our strength for the welfare of poor farmers," he said.
"Gujarat will give a model to the nation for tackling drought situation, with public participation."
He also said that this would be the first drought in which "we will see mother Narmada herself combating this calamity" and "sisters of Sakhi-Mandal (women self-help groups) will come out as a new strength to fight this adversity".
These women will provide leadership in solving the problems of villages, he said.
"Let those who are creating anti-Gujarat atmosphere understand that even the Government of India needs to cite the Gujarat`s numbers (on development) in order to highlight country`s achievements," he said.