Summer has just set in but Gujarat is already facing a water shortage. And it will only worsen in the next two months as the State’s main water sources like the Narmada dam, and dozens of other dams and reservoirs, are going dry. Ironically, Gujarat is faced with the crisis despite copious rains last monsoon.The government has assured that there will be no shortage of drinking water in any corner of the State. Narmada water was stopped for irrigation from March 15. Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Parbat Patel recently told the Assembly that the State has made adequate arrangements to ensure drinking water is available in every part of the State. But the picture is far from that. A crisis is already evident in villages, where water is now supplied once or twice a week.Despite the State’s claimed preparations, approximately 4,238 out of 18,000 villages in Gujarat are facing a severe crisis as their sources have either gone dry or are about to go dry. “More than 50% of the hand pumps in tribal pockets are not functional. Small tribal villages from north to central Gujarat are the worst hit,” said Congress spokesman Manish Doshi.Currently, the water level in the State’s main water body, the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada, is at about 105 metres, roughly less than 50% of the dam’s normal average level. Moreover, the spread of water in the reservoir, which was across 214 km during the monsoon, has now shrunk to less than 90 km, and will shrink further in the summer. Now, the State is forced to use the dead stock of water from the dam.The Narmada is the main source of water for over 10,000 villages and 165 towns and cities in over a dozen districts in the State, notably in the water-starved and drought-prone Saurashtra, Kutch and north Gujarat regions. Moreover, in all other 203 dams and reservoirs across the State, the water level is less than 40%, and will dry up rapidly as summer peaks. A look at the region-wise figures of water storage available in the State’s dams: 15 dams in north Gujarat have 714.95 mcm (million cubic metres) storage, which is 37.15%. In 138 dams and water bodies in Saurashtra, only 656.97 mcm water is stored, which is just 25.93 %.On January 22, the State government announced that water in the Narmada dam had reached its lowest level in the last 13 years. So, from mid-March, Narmada water will not be supplied for irrigation. The State has now deployed State Reserved Police (SRP) personnel along the canals to stop farmers from taking water illegally from the Narmada canals.After stopping water for irrigation, the outflow of water has come down from around 9,000 cusecs early this week to around 4,900 cusecs now, with 4,300 cusecs for drinking purposes.Worse ahead“More than 50% villages in my area are facing water shortage and it will become more acute in April and May,” said Congress legislator Naushad Solanki from the Dasada constituency in Saurashtra. “Earlier, the government said no shortage in drinking water because the Narmada dam water has been reserved for drinking purposes and irrigation supply was curtailed. However, now, even drinking water supply is inadequate in villages,” said Sagar Rabari of the Gujarat Farmers’ Union, a civil society group fighting for farmers’ rights.Authorities have started rationalised supply to cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara in order to supply more water to smaller towns and villages. “In Ahmedabad, which receives 1,420 million litres per day (MLD) from the Narmada and Kadana dams, among other resources, water supply is expected to be cut by 200 MLD,” a senior official in the State government said. South Gujarat has 27% less water compared to last year so there is an urgent need to rationalise use of water in Surat, which gets the highest water supply per capita, he added.The crisis seems to have its genesis upstream. According to State government officials, due to a weak monsoon in the Narmada catchment areas in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat could only get 4.71 million acre feet (maft) of water, which is just 45% of the sanctioned supply of 9 maft is awarded by the Narmada Tribunal to the State.
Dr Coralie Srivastava’s astrological forecast raises a toast to staying fit this summer. Here are a few tips.Aries: March 21-April 20Aries is a fire sign, which imparts enthusiasm and dynamic energy. You would do well at rigorous sporting activities like kick boxing and weight lifting. Team sports like football or cricket are also a good idea for you.Taurus: April 21-May 20Playing tennis, badminton or squash would be a good idea to keep your body and mind fit. A practical person like you would otherwise consider exercising a waste of time, if it does not mentally stimulate you.Gemini: May 21-June 21A Gemini loves entertainment and partying with a group of friends. Workouts which can give them an opportunity to meet new people would be ideal for you. Activities like Bollywood dancing and gymnastics would fit the bill.Cancer: June 22-July 23Cancerians are always more comfortable at home. A relaxed environment while exercising would keep you fit as well as happy. You can set up a mini gym in your basement or a spare room. Running on a treadmill is a good option.Leo: July 24-August 23Leos cannot do with boredom, and tend to get lazy at times. So, exercising in the gym under the supervision of a trainer would be beneficial for you. You can also try swimming or Bollywood dancing. A dynamic workout would keep you upbeat all day long.Virgo: August 24-September 23Virgos are a perfectionists and like to push themselves harder to attain the unattainable. Rigorous running in a cross country marathon or skiing is perfect for you.Libra: September 24-October 22Refined taste and a strong aesthetic sense come naturally to you. A love for luxury and all things beautiful encourage activities like golfing in a plush golf club or exercising in a well equipped gym. A workout is more appealing when you can socialise at the same time.Scorpio: October 23-November 22Scorpio represents one of the strongest signs of the zodiac. This deep well of strength needs to be channelised in right direction. Kick boxing, karate and power yoga are good options for this powerful and intense sun sign.Sagittarius: November 23-December 22You love adventure and outdoor sports. Activities such as sky diving, bunjee jumping, mountaineering and rock climbing would give you a much needed adrenaline rush. But extreme sports involves risk. Take safety precautions to avoid danger.Capricorn: December 23-January 20A Capriconian is driven by ambition. Their structured minds would do well at golf where they would be able to exercise while expanding their networking circle.Aquarius: January 21-February 19Physical exertion is not your cup of tea. A dedicated soul like you would be more interested in alternative therapies. For instance, enrolling yourself in a Tai Chi, Chi Yung or Sudarshan Kriya class would be your key to fitness and relaxation.Pisces: February 20-March 20You are gentle, sensitive and like to live in your imaginative world. Make an effort to keep yourself calm. Healing activities like Surya Namaskar and light workouts such as cycling would release the tension and give you a fresh perspective on things.advertisement
The Government is committed to reversing negative perceptions of Jamaica as a business-friendly destination, by making a real and lasting impact on the national business environment.Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, made this declaration while addressing the official opening of the ATL Automotive Volkswagen Modular Showroom and Audi Terminal, on Oxford Road, St. Andrew on Friday, April 19.She disclosed that work to achieve the improvements is being done through the National Competitiveness Council, chaired by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, with active participation from the Private Sector.“Minister Hylton and his team are charged with plotting an upward path to advance Jamaica’s position in the rankings, by taking the required actions, in partnership with the wider public and the private sectors, to address the complex issues affecting national productivity and global competitiveness,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.She also called for a new culture of customer service at all levels in the public and private sector, premised on quality, speedy response and innovative practices, which empowers workers to exercise greater discretion and appropriate attitudes in delivering excellence every time.She noted that Government has tried many initiatives in the past to encourage greater levels of customer service and so it is time to consider a classic Public Private Partnership (PPP).The Prime Minister congratulated the ATL team, inclusive of Chairman, Hon. Gordon Butch Stewart, and son and Chief Executive Officer, ATL Automotive, Adam Stewart, for their level of service in delivering high customer satisfaction over the years. “I regard the ATL brand as a high quality Jamaican brand and an important local benchmark against which we can define and implement a new service culture in Jamaica. This is an urgent need when we consider that in excess of 70 per cent of the Jamaican economy comprises service industries like the dynamic automotive sector,”Mrs. Simpson Miller said.She challenged the ATL team, to consider how it could partner with Government “to find solutions to this thorny problem (of poor customer service), which if you think about it, is at the heart of our less than desirable position in the Global Competitiveness Rankings.”For his part, Adam Stewart, noted that the company, began 45 years old ago with a vision to give customers more than they expect.“We would never stand here and say that we get it right every time, but we certainly stand here and say that every time there is an issue, we take that phone call and make it right,” he said, in explaining the company’s philosophy of good customer service.He disclosed that the new-car sector is important to Jamaica, noting that in addition to the import duties that are being paid, the sector also employs and trains many Jamaicans in a specialised field.The new facility, which employs 120 persons on site, was constructed at a cost of US$13.5 million, representing the largest investment by any automotive company in Jamaica’s history.By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter