six villages were flooded in Mehesana district of Gujarat after a 20-foot-wide breach appeared in the Narmada canal near Kadi on June 10. Three- to four-foot-deep water flooded the houses in these villages and the drinking water supply was badly hit. This was the third major breach in the canal in three consecutive years.
The cause of the breach is not known but environmentalists blame authorities' negligence. According to Rohit Prajapati of Paryavan Suraksha Samiti, an environmental organization, there are "several cracks in the canal at various places, which might wreck havoc any day, especially with the rains approaching". Prajapati also claimed that the people from nearby areas had filed several complaints regarding cracks, but the authorities did not respond.
Prajapati said there had been two major incidents of breach in the canal earlier: in Vadodara in 2006 and in Mehsana in 2007. People also complain that no routine inspections are done to monitor the condition of the canal.
N V Patel, chairman, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, refuted all such claims, saying, "There are no cracks in the canal anywhere. We undertake the inspection of the canal at least twice a year, before and after the monsoon."
The state government plans a technical survey of the entire 456 km stretch of the main canal.
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