The Maharashtra government on Saturday declared that optimum irrigation potential of 11.43 lakh hectares, through 157 projects with budgetary allocation of Rs 3,434 crore, would be attained in the next three years in the Vidarbha region.
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Unveiling policy reforms and enhanced financial allocations for tackling irrigation backlog in the region, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Of the 376 irrigation projects, 157 are confined to the Vidarbha belt. In terms of funds, of the total Rs 6,844 crore for the irrigation sector in the state, 3,434 crore, or about 51 per cent, is for Vidarbha.” The 26,000 hectare irrigation backlog in Vidarbha will be addressed through completion of 15 long pending projects by 2018-19, he said.
After achieving the target, the government would rework the geographical backlog to enhance irrigation potential in the eleven districts of Vidabha, which had registered the maximum number of farmers committing suicide in the last 15 years.
The state government asserted that development of Maharashtra as a leading state cannot be a reality unless it brings holistic prosperity in backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada.
The CM said that the government has allocated Rs 2,763 crore in two years for irrigation projects, almost three times any government has ever sanctioned in the last 15 years. Apart from dams and barrages, the government has concentrated on completing 11,000 irrigation wells which would bring 6,734 hectares of land under irrigation. In Vidarbha, there were old ponds popular as “Mama Talab” which were in a state of neglect. Almost 1,324 Mama Talabs with an investment of Rs 150 crore were rejuvenated.
The region, which encompasses six distressed districts out of eleven, has faced severe drought.