The state government plans to take the public-private partnership route to tackle the water crisis in villages while also roping in non-government organisations to discuss alternative sources of livelihood and address social issues that drive farmers to suicide.
A separate project is also being undertaken by the government to tackle the problems of farmers with land holding of less than two hectares.
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Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis discussed these initiatives at the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) conclave on Friday evening. He also discussed the significance of the government’s Jalyukt Shivar Yojna.
While promising financial packages to provide immediate relief to farmers, Fadnavis said long-term measures, including insurance cover and alternative sources of livelihood and social awareness campaign, would also have to be taken on a war footing.
To tackle drought in 24,000 villages in the state, the chief minister also urged the corporate sector to play a pro-active role in shouldering social responsibilities. Fadnavis also plans to tap the CSR funds in water conservation projects.
“The response from the corporates in taking up the drought challenge is very encouraging. So far, 400 villages have been adopted by various corporates,” the CM said.
“The save water campaign along with water conservation schemes will be undertaken by the government on a war footing. And it would require an active participation of both people and private players,” he added. “We want to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019, which means a target of 5,000 villages every year to overcome water crisis,” he said.
The decision to use CSR for a social cause was taken up first by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi a few months ago.
According to Fadnavis, “The state would require Rs one lakh crore to complete the ongoing irrigation projects. Unless these projects are completed, it would not be able to enhance the irrigation potential and address the water problems in the state.”
Fadnavis has also held talks with social activist Anna Hazare and Popatrao Pawar who have played an important role in water conservation in their own districts.