Rajkot: Demolition of a centuries-old dam was halted on Saturday after a protest staged by the residents of Shinay village in Gandhidham taluka of Kutch district. The Sardar Sarovar Nigam Limited (SSNL) plans to demolish the dam and use its clay to build a Narmada sub-canal. The residents said that they use the dam water for irrigation, besides using it for drinking purposes for animals.
A protection wall was constructed at the dam around two years ago. Earlier, in the absence of a protection wall, the rainwater used to flow into the sea or flood the Gadhidham and Adipur town. Thanks to the protection wall and also good monsoon over the last couple of years, the dam has seen good retention of rainwater for the first time in the last 20 years.
“We had held the protest because without informing the villagers the government machinery started the work of demolition of the dam. We are using the dam water for irrigation purposes and have asked authorities to postpone the demolition work by two months. At present, the dam has an 18-feet water level. If the dam is damaged it may flood some low lying areas,” Gopal Hadiya, sarpanch of the village, said.
The villagers are objecting that water will go waste if the dam is demolished ahead of the summer months. Water scarcity is common in the village during the summers.
According to government officials, a Narmada canal is being constructed from Anjar to Mandvi. Clay from this dam is to be utilized in the construction of the proposed canal. “We don’t know about the reasons behind the move, the government asked us to demolish the dam so we are doing it,” B Shrinivasan, Engineer of SSNNL in Gandhidham, said.
Kutch collector Praveena D K confirmed that the demolition work was halted after the protest of villagers. “The clay is needed for the construction of the Narmada canal so the decision is taken to break the dam. Excess water is stored in the dam which is not used for drinking or irrigation purposes. However, looking at protests of villagers the work was halted on Saturday,” Praveena said.