India's 99 river water projects completed? Modi "misled" nation, Parliament in Feb

Wondering whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi misled Parliament and the nation on February 7, 2019, well-known environmentalist Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) has said that in his reply to the debate on President of India’s address to the joint session of Parliament, the PM said India has done the work of "completing" 99 river water projects through expenditure of thousands of crores of rupees.

Pointing out that Modi mentions the figure 99 in that 28 second interval at least four times, Thakkar says, “Interestingly, the PM claims completion of these 99 projects was a means of empowerment of the farmers.” Calling it “highly questionable”, Thakkar insists, “As the farmers feel totally slave to the operators of the irrigation projects, in whose decision making, implementation or operation, farmers have no role.”
“And yet”, according to Thakkar, BJP’s manifesto, published with PM’s letter dated April 8, 2019, contradicts him when it says on page 14, “We have completed work on the long pending 31 irrigation projects under Pradhan Manti Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMSPY) and work will soon be completed on the remaining 68 projects in phases upto Dec 2019.”
“Thus”, says Thakkar, “BJP’s own manifesto contradicts what the PM said on the floor of Parliament”, adding, “However, if we go to the Ministry of Water Resources-PMSPY website, we find that even the 31 projects that are claimed to have been completed way back in June 2018, are yet to achieve full irrigation potential utilization. What this means is that even these 31 projects are not complete, the work is still ongoing to achieve full utilization of the potential.”
Continues Thakkar, “It is quite another matter how useful these projects are to the farmers even when claimed to have been completed, they do not seem to add to the national net irrigated area, even as per government’s own information.”



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