Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Challenges CM Ashok Gehlot on Water Project Issue


Yesterday, the Union Minister of Water Resources, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, was on a visit to Sawai Madhopur. During a press conference held at Hotel Raj Palace on Ranthambore Road, he openly challenged the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, on the Integrated Action Plan for River Linking (IAPRL).
On the issue of IAPRL, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that he challenges Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and any capable minister or officer from his party to openly debate the IAPRL plan. He accused the Chief Minister and Congress party of misleading the people of eastern Rajasthan regarding the IAPRL plan, creating a false electoral issue. Minister Shekhawat claimed that Chief Minister Gehlot was misleading the people and making false accusations against the Central government.
Shekhawat also alleged that Chief Minister Gehlot is playing politics with the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP). He stated, “Gehlot is not accepting the ERCP plan, which aims to provide water to 13 districts of eastern Rajasthan and increase irrigation by 5 lakh hectares.” Shekhawat pointed out that Rajasthan’s share in the project is only Rs. 700 crores, while the rest of the cost, amounting to Rs. 36,000 crores, will be borne by the Central government. He accused Gehlot of creating a false narrative and deceiving the people by claiming that the project could be completed for just Rs. 15,000 crores. Shekhawat mentioned that the concept of linking rivers to address water scarcity was proposed in 2004 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. However, the project was stalled due to disagreements with Madhya Pradesh. It was only after 2014, during Prime Minister Modi’s tenure, that the project was revisited. Shekhawat also highlighted that the project was to be discussed multiple times with Chief Minister Gehlot, but he did not attend any of the nine meetings organized.
The Union Minister revealed that a meeting was scheduled in Jaipur on April 18, 2022, with prior notice to the Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister. However, Gehlot declined to attend the meeting, citing other commitments. Shekhawat emphasized that the Central government has proposed a new project, the Navenara-Galwa-Beesalpur-Isarda Link Project, which would provide Rajasthan with 2500 cusecs of water, surpassing the proposed ERCP. Shekhawat claimed that Congress is using the IAPRL project as a political tool, which is causing harm to the public. He also criticized the black flags shown by Chief Minister Gehlot’s advisor Ramkesh Meena in Gangapur City, terming them a symbol of the Congress’s “divisive mentality”.