President Ram Nath Kovind emphasised the need to make optimal use of natural resources, including water, so that sufficient food could be produced for the country’s 1.25 billion people.
President Kovind laid the foundation stone for a new pipeline link of the state government’s ambitious Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI) Project. He also offered prayers at the Ghela Somnath temple on Monday.
“I am very happy to be here on the occasion of the foundation-laying ceremony of the SAUNI Yojana. At the root of the concept behind the SAUNI Yojana was the idea to take water from the water-rich region to the water-scarce region. I am very happy that the promises made to the people of Gujarat are being realised,” he said.
“Taking benefit from the experiences of Gujarat, it is important to make optimal use of all resources, including water resources, for the cultivation of sufficient food for the country’s 1.25 billion population,” Kovind said.
Before laying the foundation stone, he also offered prayers at the Ghela Somnath temple here. Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and several MLAs and MPs, accompanied him.
The president also praised the state government for its water conservation efforts.
“Gujarat is considered a leading state on several social and economic yardsticks and the successful experiments done here in the field of agricultural development are being replicated nationally. The productivity of land is being increased through soil health card programme. To carry water in the water-scarce areas, canal and pipeline networks have been laid across the state. In the dry areas of Gujarat, around 144-km-long Kutch branch canal network has been completed,” Kovind said.
He said the Sardar Sarovar project has 30 gates, which can be closed to prevent water from getting wasted.
“Micro irrigation has been encouraged for effective use of water resources,” he said.
Kovind said that proper and optimal use of water helps in farm cultivation and improving farmers’ income.
He said he has been associated with Gujarat for the last 45 years, having worked closely with former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who belonged to the state.
Praising PM Narendra Modi, he said, “The current Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi comes from Mehsana in Uttar Gujarat. He is the second prime minister of this state who is working hard to make India a leading country in the world, with the same hard work with which he made Gujarat a leading state in the country.”
The president also used a few lines in Gujarati while addressing the people. “Mara Gujarat na bhaiyo ane behno …kem chho. Pani na mahatva tamara thi badhare kaun jaane.
(My brothers and sisters of Gujarat, how are you? Who will know the value of water better than you),” he said.
Stating that the SAUNI Yojana is a step towards nation- building, he used a story from the Ramayana to send out the message that even a small contribution towards nation-building goes a long way.
Kovind said at the Ghela Somnath temple, he sought “prosperity and happiness for the people of Saurashtra” as blessings.