Issue Date: Feb 28, 2011
About a decade ago, farmers of 15 villages in Mahuva block in coastal Saurashtra could barely grow one crop a year. This was because the groundwater they used for irrigation was saline. Their fortunes changed in 2000 when the Gujarat government created a reservoir—Samadhiyala bandhara— by building a dam at the mouth of the river Shensuri that flows through Mahuva. The dam prevented sea water from entering the river. The reservoir’s sweet water helped farmers grow up to three crops a year and set up agro-processing units. But the good times were not to last. In 2008, the state government allotted part of the reservoir and its catchment area, totalling 268 hectares (ha), to detergent company Nirma to set up a cement plant.