Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said funds meant for the poor were slashed so more money could be allotted to bring Narmada water to the arid district of Kutch in Gujarat, reported The Times of India. He asked the people of Kutch to use Narmada water judiciously, while inaugurating the third pumping station on the Narmada canal network.

“Over the years we have tried to fetch Narmada water to you by denying the hopes and aspirations of many poor people by cutting allocations who could have been provided good schools, hospitals and food,” Modi said.

Modi said successive Gujarat governments had spent a considerable amount of money for years to get Narmada water to Kutch. “People of other states have an impression that Gujarat is a rich state,” he said according to PTI. “However, they do not understand that here the government has to spend huge amount of money year after year to provide drinking water to people.”

Modi advised the farmers to use better irrigation techniques such as sprinklers for their crops to save water. “Now that Ma [mother] Narmada has reached us, I would request you to use it judiciously.”