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Modi may be angry, but I have to do my duty: Soz

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 19: Unfazed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of his stance on the Sardar Sarovar dam issue, Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz today said whether Mr Modi is angry or not ''I have to do my duty''.

''I am not biased in favour of anybody or against anybody,'' said Prof. Soz, who had led a three-member ministerial team that visited Madhya Pradesh to study rehabilitation and resettlement of the Narmada oustees.

''If he (Mr Modi) is angry or not angry, I have to do my duty,'' Prof. Soz told reporters after launching a hydrology workshop project here this morning.

Prof. Soz, whom Mr Modi blames for forcing him to go on his 51-hour fast (which was called off after the Supreme Court order allowing continuation of the dam construction), dismissed suggestions that he favoured the Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which was fighting against the Narmada Control Authority's decision to raise the height of the dam from 110.64 metres to 121.92 metres.

He, however, declined to comment on the rehabilitation undertaken by the authorities.

Earlier, inaugurating the three-day workshop that launched the World Bank-funded Hydrology Project II for data collection and water resource management, Prof. Soz said well-thoughtout plans are necessary for effective use of India's water resources.

India's share of the world's water resources is only 4 per cent against the 16 per cent share of the country in the global population.

With the country setting a target of 450 million tonnes of foodgrains production by 2015, appropriate planning was also necessary to meet the irrigation needs, he added.

The National Water Policy envisages institutional arrangements like the Hydrology Project of the Central Water Commission and other bodies to maintain a hydrological data for resource planning, the Minister said.

''Management of our water resources is a major challenge,'' he said.

Under the Hydrology Project, the country had developed a network of data collection for hydrological information. The workshop is attended by managers, civil engineers and other experts from across the country.

UNI

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