Rajasthan has called for immediate release of dues totalling Rs.522 crore as Central assistance for implementation of the Narmada irrigation project in the State and Rs.225 crore sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission for the water sector.

State Water Resources Minister Hemaram Chaudhary said at the sixth meeting of the National Water Resources Council in New Delhi over the weekend that sprinklers and drip irrigation had been adopted in the 2.46 lakh hectare command area of Narmada project in Jalore and Barmer districts. These techniques have been adopted in such a large area for the first time in the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presided over the meeting, while Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat was among those present. Rajasthan's Principal Water Resources Secretary O. P. Saini also represented the desert State.

Mr. Chaudhary said the desert development project area of the State must be included in the category getting 90 per cent Central assistance under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme. Besides, the matter relating to the use of 0.6 million acre feet of the State's share in Ravi-Beas waters by Punjab must be speeded up.

According to an official release here, Mr. Chaudhary also raised the issue of lack of representation of Rajasthan in the Bhakhra-Beas Management Board and demanded that members be appointed by rotation in the Board.

The Minister said the drinking water problem in Churu and Jhunjhunu districts could be resolved if the State's share of 1,917 cusec water in Tajewala headwork was promptly released.