Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday said the Jalyukta Shivar projects had helped bring 12,500 hectares of land under protected irrigation with an expenditure of Rs 5,500 crore. He said creating the same scale of infrastructure through big dam projects would have cost the state Rs 30,000 crore.
During an interaction with farmers in the fifth episode of Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy, Fadnavis said: “Today, 11,494 villages have become drought free. The water tables have risen. The water storage potential increased to 96,000 TMC bringing transformation in the lives of individual farmers in remote villages.”
He said the Rs 5,500-crore investment through Jalyukta Shivar had proved a good model to combat drought and make villages water neutral. “As against the target of 1 lakh farm ponds this year, we have already completed 37,000 projects. Of the 68,000 wells, 40,000 have been constructed,” said the CM. He said every eligible farmer could avail the Rs 50,000 subsidy for farm ponds through online application, urging farmers to utilise the scheme.
Mahindra Agav, a farmer from Beed district, wanted to know by when all pending projects in the district would be completed. Fadnavis said, “Almost 9,000 projects have been taken up in 527 villages with allocation of Rs 237 crore in Beed. Of these, projects in 306 villages have completed. The ongoing pending works have been expedited and would be completed by June end.”
The CM said a district-wise review was taken up every two months with course corrections to resolve the problems.
Narrating his personal experience, farmer Dabaru Gavande from Jalna district said, “The well in my field which would run dry is now filled with water. The crop production has increased from 18 to 25 sacks.”
Gavande wanted to know what measures should they take to ensure no repeat of drought. To this, Fadnavis said, “Every village gram panchayats and individual farmer should exercise caution to ensure there is no misuse of water. The general trend is whenever there is plenty of water, farmers cultivate high water-intensive sugarcane. The farmers should think beyond sugarcane and look for other crops that can also bring higher income. The thrust on crop patterns is a must.”
Responding to a question from Vijay Gundhar of Chandrapur on rainwater harvesting, the chief minister said: “The government has made it mandatory to make rainwater harvesting in every new development plan. The awareness is catching up with people and it is a very important aspect to save rainwater.”
Expressing concern over the long pending Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project, the chief minister said, “In the last two years, we have taken concrete measures to tackle all the roadblocks. Revised approvals for the civil works have been cleared. The project should be completed by December 2019.”
Popatrao Pawar, sarpanch of Hiwre Bazar village, urged the CM to have the Jalyukta Shivar projects focus on water recharge and soil erosion. Fadnavis said the emphasis on water recharge projects had been accorded higher priority.