Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday directed state officials to expedite the Jalyukta Shivar scheme and prioritise the work of desilting canals and streams.
“Water availability, planning and irrigation facilities are matter of concern for farmers. A large number of watershed works, which result in irrigation potential, need to be undertaken. Jalyukta Shivar scheme has given major benefits to farmers and therefore planning must be done to expedite the scheme now,” said Shinde during a review meeting of the soil and water conservation department.
Shinde directed that financial as well as human resources should be provided to increase the scale of works under the scheme, which was implemented between 2014 and 2019, when Devendra Fadnavis was the chief minister of Maharashtra. After the Maha Vikas Aghadi government came to power, allegations of malpractices were made and Jalyukta Shivar was halted.
The Indian Express had, in October, reported that Jalyukta Shivar – a pet scheme of Fadnavis – is set to make a comeback and the newer version of the scheme will have a mix of technical and social approach towards water conservation.
When contacted, Fadnavis said the state government is relaunching the Jalyukta Shivar scheme. Jalyukta Shivar 2.0 will include approximately 5,000 new villages where technical works of water conservation — such as deepening and widening of water bodies, construction of small earthen dams and digging of farm ponds — will take place. These are villages which were not covered during the 2014-2019 phase of the scheme. The other component of the scheme will include more than 22,000 villages where water conservation works were carried out from 2014 to 2019. The work here will be about spreading water literacy, water management and conservation principles.