Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti on Tuesday gave in-principle consent for a special irrigation package worth Rs 30,788 crore for Maharashtra proposed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, which will be taken up in the Union cabinet. The state would be accorded a special package to tackle drought and suicide by farmers, she assured.
At a meeting in Mumbai, Fadnavis made a presentation, seeking a Rs 7,188-crore package for irrigation projects in Vidarbha and Marathwada, which have witnessed the maximum number of suicides.
Apart from this package, a Rs 2,000-crore package to tackle the severe drought in some parts of western Maharashtra was also accepted by Bharti.
The biggest component sought was for 26 projects enlisted under the Prime Minister’s Krishi Sinchai Yojna (PMKSY). The enhanced cumulative cost of these projects is Rs 36,000 crore. The Centre’s share of 60 per cent works to Rs 21,600 crore. The remaining 40 per cent share will be provided by the state to complete these projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme. While describing the drought situation in Maharashtra as a tragedy, Bharti said, “The state’s irrigation potential at 48.66 hectares is very poor. It has the potential of 126 lakh hectares. It is a cause of concern as it has been neglected by those who ruled the state for maximum years. Look at Madhya Pradesh, it has touched 30 per cent irrigation.”
Lauding the efforts of Fadnavis, Bharti added, “Maharashtra will get a special package for irrigation projects.”
Fadnavis said, “We have taken up 132 irrigation projects in drought and suicide-prone districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada on highest priority. Of these, 98 projects are from Vidarbha (Rs 4,098 crore) and 34 projects from Marathwada (Rs 3,090 crore). Similarly,
small and medium-irrigation projects, which would make an immediate impact in tackling the water crisis worth Rs 2,000 crore, are being pursued in western Maharashtra.”
Today’s meeting was an outcome of Fadnavis’s letter to PM seeking a special package to tackle suicides in drought-prone districts of Maharashtra.
Apart from the special package for drought and PMKSY, the chief minister urged Bharti to consider the Tapi Recharge Irrigation Project. The Union minister has given the nod for the Rs 5-crore recharge project.
However, the Centre has asked the state government to provide a revised estimate along with expenditure details on the Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project.
The state government has sought Rs 8,000 crore from the Centre to complete the work on the project languishing for three decades.
A joint team of the state government and the Centre will be set up to prepare a plan for Gosikhurd which would be submitted in 15 days. It would be headed by a senior secretary at the Centre. The Gosikhurd project will bring 2.5 lakh hectares under irrigation. “We want to complete the project in the next three years,” the CM said.