“Forty years after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of the project, the state is still fighting for the installation of gates at Narmada dam, only because of non-cooperation from the Congress government at Centre,” lamented Shri Narendra Modi yesterday as he addressed a farmers’ rally after laying the foundation stone of the ambitious Rs 10,000 crore Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation project, which will take Narmada’s water to 115 dams and reservoirs in Saurashtra. This project will do well to the Saurashtra region which gets less than average rainfall, and where water shortage is a perpetual problem.

 “Nearly 60 per cent of water from the Narmada River goes to waste as the dam work is incomplete, which we could save by installing the gates,” Shri Modi said. “I met Manmohan Singh many times and sought permission to install gates, but received a cold response… Which has annoyed all of us,” fumed Shri Modi adding that the installation work would take nearly three years.

 “We have an economist Prime Minister and a knowledgeable Finance Minister, but the country’s growth rate in agriculture has stagnated at two or three per cent, while Gujarat, which is facing shortage of water, has achieved 10 per cent growth rate,” Shri Modi stated. “Congress has a problem with chaiwala (tea seller), but politics should be in its own place and Congress should not scuttle the aspirations of farmers in the Saurashtra region.’

One wonders how can Congress  party speak of an illustrious legacy as it impedes progress of a project whose ‘Foundation stone’ was laid by its and the nation’s first Prime Minister.