Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend a separate package of Rs 8,000 crore for the Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project in Vidarbha region. Fadnavis has set three years timeline for the project if funds are provided.
A meeting of chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra to discuss the drought has been convened by the prime minister in Delhi on Saturday.
According to sources, “Fadnavis has decided to seek Modi’s personal intervention in completion of the Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project, languishing for over three decades.”
What marks this project apart from other 89 projects under the Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna, is its magnitude and immense potential to transform the cotton-growing belt of Maharashtra. Another aspect relates to availability of plenty of water. But due to incomplete work, and lack of canals, several lakh farmers have been deprived of irrigation facilities.
The project would cover three districts of Bhandara, Chandrapur and Nagpur. On completion, the project would bring 2.5 lakh hectares under irrigation. The BJP-led government wants to take this project to its logical end not only to help farmers but also to set an example to expose the complacency displayed by the Congress-NCP in this project.
A complete profile which would be placed before the Centre points to details of the project, which was inaugurated by late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. The cost of the project was Rs 380 crore. The revised cost is Rs 16,167 crore. Till now, Rs 8,000 crore have been invested. And almost equal amount is required to complete pending works.
Apart from civil works related to canals, infrastructure and civic amenities for relocated project-hit people is under way. When the project gets going, it would benefit 2.5 lakh hectares across Bhandara (81,697 hectares); Nagpur (22,997 hectares); Chandrapur (1,43, 106 hectares).
At the meeting, the chief minister will outline the short and long term measures taken by the government in tackling drought and the challenges ahead.
The success of “jalyukta shivar yojna” which has led to completion of 1.33 lakh works spending Rs 1,600 crore across 6,200 villages will be highlighted. Also the issues related to crop pattern change and efforts to enhance soil health would be discussed.