Planned a decade back, Kalpasar dam project yet to take off

The Kalpasar Dam project envisaged a decade ago to resolve the water woes in Saurashtra and Kutch region in Gujarat, is yet to take off.

The project, which is estimated to cost Rs 33,000 crore, was conceptualised in 1998 to establish fresh water reservoir in sea by building a dam on the Gulf of Khambhat, with projected storage capacity of 10,000 million cubic metre (MCM).

However, the project is still in study phase, even as the state is grappling with non-availability of water due to scanty rainfall.

"Studies like Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the phase I of Kalpasar project, comprising 15 km barrage on Narmada Dam are almost over. All the mandatory clearances for it will be in place by the end of this fiscal," a top official of Kalpasar project told PTI.

"The requisite clearances for phase II involving 30 km dam from Bhavnagar to Dahej are expected by 2013-14," he said.

The project proposes construction of a dam on Gulf of Khambat, leading to creation of 2,000 square km fresh water reservoir. After the completion, it is expected to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes to parched pockets of the state like Saurashtra and Kutch.

It also proposes to link Saurasthra to South Gujarat by a 30-km dam, with a ten lane road, officials said, adding the project would offer slew of opportunities for setting up renewable energy projects like solar, wind and tidal.

Business delegations from countries like Japan, Israel and Korea have evinced interest in this multi-crore project, official sources said.

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had criticised Chief Minister Narendra Modi on his blog over the "failure" in launching the Kalpasar project. It was during Patel's regime that the project had been conceptualised.

"In the last ten years, this government could have completed the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Canal project as well as Kalpasar dam. But it has not done these two things," Patel had said.

This year, Gujarat has been hit by deficient rains, with Saurashtra and Kutch regions being the worst-hit.

But, before the state government inks the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement for the Kalpasar Dam, the requisite project clearances like the EIA, Social Impact Assessment (SIA) amongst others, have to be in place, official sources said.

Recently, Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI) submitted its base-line study conducted on environmental components of the project like soil, water, coastal area, air with respect to biological and physico chemical parameters there, as specified by MoEF.

The base-line data, collected by the institute will help draw inference on the project impact at a later stage, sources said.

In seismic-prone Gujarat, the officials are mulling to upgrade the safety standards of the proposed dam up to Seismic Zone-V, after preliminary reports of a survey done for the project, sources said.

In Gujarat, the per capita per annum water availability is 990 cubic meters, which is below the minimum requirement of 1,700 cubic meters, reads the portal of the proposed Kalpasar project.

Every year, 38,000 MCM average surface water is available in the state. However, despite including Sardar Sarovar Project, only 20,480 million cubic meter (54 per cent) is possible to be stored, it stated.

The Gulf of Khambhat is touted to be a viable option for creating a reservoir by construction of a Gulf closure dam, which can store about 10,000 MCM water inflows of rivers like Narmada, Dhadhar, Mahi, Sabarmati and some of the Saurashtra rivers), which account for 25 per cent of total surface water resources of Gujarat.

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