Maharashtra has become the epicenter of corruption and the prevailing drought in the state was due to the drought in the mind of the politicians and not due to natural reasons,said Water conservationist Rajendra Singh while addressing the media in the city on Monday.
Since Independence,majority of agriculture ministers have been from the state. The state has surplus natural resources and highest number of dams in the country. The state gets lions share of government grants and yet it is in the throes of drought, he said.
As per the government norms,Singh said drought is declared when there is less than 50 per cent rainfall. He said while the state has received almost 70 per cent rainfall ,the government has declared 10,000 villages spread across 19 districts as drought-hit.
On my visit to Sangli,I saw the government has just opened fodder camps and pressed water tankers into service to mitigate drought. The human touch is completely missing in the drought relief process, he said. Singh said that drought relief programme has become a major source of corruption for many in the state.
At some places people were forced to drink water meant for animals and fell sick. This lack of sensibility on part of people is really disturbing, he said.
Talking about management of urban water bodies,he said that immediate measures should be taken to save rivers and other water bodies.
Based on their experience in Rajasthan,the state government had issued a government resolution which talked about taking up of watershed development in the state. The resolution stated that the work should be taken up under the Employment Guarantee Schemes. However,during my recent meeting with the agriculture commissioner,it was revealed that the commissionerate is unaware of any such resolution, he said. After the meeting,Singh said the commissionarate has decided to conduct a day-long training on watershed development on June 13.