Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the deployment of water tankers in rural Maharashtra in peak summer has come down from 6,200 last year to 1,200 this year, adding that this indicates the success of his government’s flagship Jalyukta Shivar project.
Stating that the state government has initiated policies to ensure the need to deploy water tankers is eliminated by 2019, Fadnavis said, “Our report shows that where a large number of Jalyukta Shivar projects has been completed the villages have become water-reliant. This has helped villagers get rid of water tankers. More than 1,190 villages have become tanker-free.”
Fadnavis was interacting with more than 18,000 participants in the fifth episode of Mi Mukhyamantri Boltoy programme in Mumbai on Sunday. Many had joined the interaction from across the state via video conferencing.
The Jalyukta Shivar projects are enhancing the irrigation potential of 25,000 villages across Maharashtra and will make them drought-free, Fadnavis said, adding that they will also help provide clean drinking water. “The policies entail detailed planning with special focus on water recharge projects to elevate the underground water table. Our planning aims to make villages not only water-neutral but also get access to clean drinking water,” he said.
Fadnavis was asked by Sandeep Choudhiry from Thane about what steps the government has taken to complete irrigation projects. Fadnavis answered that the government has given priority to projects which have been languishing despite 75 per cent of the work being completed.
In the last 15 years, resources were spread thinly in the irrigation sector and large number of projects were started, but none of these could benefit people, he said. “Our government taken every project which would enhance irrigation potential on priority. We have completed 100 projects which will bring at least one lakh hectare of land under irrigation. Another 140 projects would be completed in next two years,” he said.
“There are 23 mega projects which I personally monitor periodically through my war room to assess the progress address problems. Their completion would bring 32 to 40 lakh hectare of land under irrigation,” he added. Chitali Asolkar (Shegaon) from district Buldhana asked when villages would get water supply like cities. Fadnavis said, “The government has already launched a special project Mukhyamantri Jal Yojana for which Rs 2,500 crore has been allocated. The work is underway and Rs 900 crore has been released.”
While discussing the water policies, he said, “A lot of impetus is given on identifying and strengthening underground water sources across all districts. The projects to strengthen water sources will ensure sustained water supply in villages.” To Namdeo Raut’s question on drip irrigation, Fadnavis said, “We have taken the decision to bring sugar cane cultivation under drip irrigation.”