Out of the total 49,024 works across 5,281 villages earmarked for the second phase of the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s pet project Jalyukta Shivar Yojana, 32,066 works have already been completed, as per statistics from the water conservation department.
The project — which was announced on January 26, 2015 – appears to be gaining major support from the villagers. Moreover, public contribution for the project in the second phase has crossed Rs 101 crore. In the first phase, contribution from the public for the project had crossed Rs 300 crore.
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Although four districts in Marathwada have witnessed floods this month, the state government has directed district collectors to ensure there is no complacency to complete the water conservation project.
Preliminary reports from the collectors’ offices from across the drought-hit districts, where the project was undertaken on a mammoth scale in the first phase, shows that “out of 25 lakh hectares, the work has helped bring 15 lakh hectares under irrigation.”
According to Pandurang Pol, district collector of Latur, the water conservation work had led to 100 per cent kharif sowing across six lakh hectares of land but incessant rains leading to the floods have wreaked havoc and have damaged the prospects of good harvest. However, he added, the district will not face any drinking water problems for at least the next one year.
The district officials, meanwhile, have been asked to revise their targets for the second phase and take up more villages to expedite the process of making 40,000 villages across the state water-neutral by 2018. Earlier, the state government had set the target of making Maharashtra drought-free by 2019.
The state government had set aside Rs 1,600 crore for the second phase of the Jalyukta Shivar projects.