Waterless in Marathwada: Gadkari’s wake-up call to home state: it’s time you spent more on irrigation

Making clear that he did not wish to get into a blame game, Gadkari said: “Irrigation development has long been neglected. The irrigation potential at present is just 18.5 per cent.”

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 17, 2016 7:29 am
Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, indian express, express adda, Waterless in Marathwada, drought, maharashtra drought, , irrigation, maharashtra drought, indian express adda, india news Nitin Gadkari at Express Adda. Amit Chakravarty

In a wake-up call to his own party’s government in Maharashtra, which is reeling under drought-like conditions, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, said the state needs to do much more on the irrigation front and water conservation to address the shortage of water.

Responding to queries at the Express Adda in Mumbai Friday evening, Gadkari, who is also the BJP MP from Nagpur, said: “Telangana which is one-third of Maharashtra has given Rs 25,000 crore for irrigation projects. A big state like Maharashtra has a budget of just Rs 7,000 crore for irrigation projects. I feel the state government should give greater priority to irrigation projects.”

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Underlining that “drought is not an overnight phenomenon”, he said: “States like Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan have been facing water problems.”

“In states like Madhya Pradesh, agriculture growth was 23 per cent. It has come down to 20 per cent… Maharashtra has been registering a negative agriculture growth for last several years,” he said.

Making clear that he did not wish to get into a blame game, Gadkari said: “Irrigation development has long been neglected. The irrigation potential at present is just 18.5 per cent.”

He recalled the Jalsandharan (water conservation) initiative of the late Congress chief minister Sudhakarrao Naik who, like him, hailed from Vidarbha. “I always held Sudhakarrao Naik in high regard for his work on water conservation.”
The state government, he said, should give greater priority to water conservation schemes like check dams to meet the water crisis. “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken a good initiative through the Jalyukt-Shivar Abhiyan,” he said.

On the controversy over shifting the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches outside Maharashtra in view of the water shortage, he said, “It is a non-issue. There is nothing wrong if they use recycled water for cricket… Rs 100 crore generated from the games should have been used for drought relief in Marathwada… Why should the judiciary give orders on a cricket match?”

Asked if he would like to return to Maharashtra as chief minister, he said, “I will never come back to Mumbai. Delhi is my destination. Devendra Fadnavis is a very capable man.” He said he will continue to ensure rapid development in his own home state. “I want to work as Maharashtra’s ambassador for five years.”

“Whether it is the development of Mumbai Port Trust or inland waterways along the coast, there are several projects which are now on the fast-track. The hybrid model of fund-raising has ensured no project suffers for want of money. But what needs to be addressed is the system,” he said.

Responding to a question on the suspension of AIMIM legislator Waris Pathan from the Maharashtra assembly for refusing to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai, Gadkari said, “If we don’t raise the slogan in India where else? In Pakistan, they say Pakistan Ki Jai…. what’s wrong.”

On the rows over the JNU incident and the suicide of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, he said, “How can anybody justify ‘Hindustan Ki Barbadi’ slogans? There are these leftist groups who have some allergy… In the case of Vemula, it took place in Telangana…The problem is they cannot digest how a RSS-BJP wallah has become the Prime Minister of India. So, they pick such issues… this is vote bank politics at the cost of development.”


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  1. C
    Col S
    Apr 17, 2016 at 3:25 am
    YES. He needs more WATER for SUGAR factories and bottling plants. More SHARE in new dams and water to be DIVERTED to factories.lt;br/gt;INNOCENT as he had no NO RESPONSIBILITY in IRRIGATION SCAM.lt;br/gt;GOD bless us.
    1. R
      Apr 17, 2016 at 5:25 am
      All these years the Scamgressis and NCP wasted crores for inflating the project costs and pocketing the money. This crisis is the result of Scamgress and NCP lootmaar.
      1. H
        hari das
        Apr 17, 2016 at 3:00 am
        this person and all the owner of sugar mills are involved in what appears to be a criminal conspiracy. Sugarcane growing and factories should be banned in Maharashtra. Sugarcane comprises 4-5% of farmland but uses 70% of water resources!!!! lt;br/gt;What about all the irrigation projects that remain uncompleted. Incompetent louts. Farmers are dying in their own backyard.!!!lt;br/gt;Oh! And maharastra was giving a donation of land worth 100crores to Hema malini. They should sell the land and give the money for drought relief.lt;br/gt;Freakin clowns.
        1. K
          kulaputra kulaputra
          Apr 17, 2016 at 12:44 am
          Good view Mr. Gadkari. The sad part is nothing is done about real solutions and tokenisms like shifting IPL is done. This is close to being absurd.
          1. V
            Apr 17, 2016 at 6:24 am
            WAKE UP my fellow Indians lt;br/gt;STOP DIGGING BORE WELLS AND which PUSH THE SURFACE WATER DOWN lt;br/gt;and cost every family, we are digging bore wells every 10 feetlt;br/gt;Go for rain harvesting (house wise and area wise)lt;br/gt;Ration the water every yearlt;br/gt;Spend time n money on Precious water and Food production not on Cricket and Internetlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Go greenlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;VP
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