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Rejected by MP, "main purpose" of Garudeshwar weir across Narmada is to supply water to industry

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst fresh controversy over the Gujarat government’s decision to go ahead with the construction of Garudeshwar weir across the Narmada river, allegedly without environmental clearance (click HERE to read), a top official in Gandhinagar Sachivalaya has confided to www.counterview.net that the “real purpose of the weir is to supply Narmada water to the industrial complexes in the nearby regions, especially in Bharuch district.” The official, who did not want to be named, said, “The state-owned Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has been asked to work out final details of the industrial areas that would need the water.”
In fact, the official said, already the GIDC has begun the process of laying down a 128 km long pipeline to one of the biggest projects up to the area – the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) in Dahej, with an investment of Rs 70,000 crore in alliance with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC). “Initially, it h…

Gujarat government 'cannot hope to collect' more than 10 per cent of the iron needed for Sardar Statue

By Rajiv Shah
Even as Gujarat’s powerful babudom is gearing up for the high-profile stone laying ceremony on October 31, birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, for the so-called Statue of Unity, proposed as the tallest statue of the world, insiders close to chief minister Narendra Modi doubted if his idea of getting iron from farmers from all over the country in order to build its structure would ever succeed. A senior official, refusing to be named, suggested, even Modi believes that even the most ideal scenario it would not be possible to collect more than 700 tonnes of iron.
“This became clear in an internal meeting. We concluded that even if 200 to 250 tonnes of iron is collected, that would be enough”, the official said, adding, “This is at best ten per cent of the iron actually needed to build the statue – an estimate of 2,500 tonnes of iron.” Saying that iron collection, to be undertaken after Modi’s October 31 rally at Kevadia Colony, off Narmada Dam, would be “largely a…

Top US-based think-tank opines there is nothing exceptional about Gujarat growth over last decade

By Rajiv Shah
A top expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign-policy think tank with centres in Washington DC, Moscow, Beirut, Beijing and Brussels, has strongly disputed those who tout Gujarat’s growth over the last decade as exemplary, saying whether it is foreign direct investment, overall investment in the economy, or governance, the state has been an average performer. Milan Vaishnav, associate, South Asia Programme, and previously with the Columbia University with primary research focus on the political economy of India, neither was there what the Gujarat chief minister called “pro-people good governance” nor “minimal government, maximum governance,” as he claimed before India’s largest business houses.
Vaishnav said, “A closer examination of hard data reveals that Modi’s growth and investment record in Gujarat is impressive, in line with the boasts of his most ardent supporters, but it is also clear that it is not exceptional”, adding, even before Mod…

A whopping 21 per cent of Gujarat's annual plan either remained unspent or was diverted in fiscal 2012-13

By Rajiv Shah
Latest data made available from authoritative sources in Gujarat’s finance department have revealed something about which the state’s policy apparatus should be worried: A whopping 21 per cent of the annual plan allocation for the last financial year, 2012-13 remained “unspent” – or possibly diverted to the “non-plan” sector. As against non-plan expenditure, which is made of all the “necessary” expenditures which the Gujarat government must make, including payment to nearly six lakh government servants, interests on debts and other such obligations, annual plan allocation is made for satisfying the developmental needs of the state in fields as education, health, social justice, woman and child development, and amelioration of the backward areas.
The annual plan, finalized at a high-level meeting between Planning Commission vice-chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, was fixed at Rs 51,000 crore. This was Rs 401 crore higher than the annua…