At Manegaon village in Sangola taluka, Solapur, a villager said the water in his well sourced through Jalyukta Shivar was clean and fit for drinking. On Wednesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis toured the drought-hit districts of Solapur and Latur to review the government’s flagship programme, Jalyukta Shivar. All villages in the two districts have been covered by Jalyukta Shivar in the past two years and it has helped villagers retain water in their farm wells. “Jalyukta Shivar has become a people’s movement. It is no longer the government scheme alone. Public participation, which is multiplying every year, is heartening to note. The success of Jalyukta Shivar can be attributed to the people of the drought-prone regions of Maharashtra,” Fadnavis said.
The government has played the role of supporting the scheme with expertise and logistics, he added. Statistics available with the state government show: “The people’s voluntary contribution for the Jalyukta Shivar is Rs 538 crore. Whereas, the total contribution of the state government in the past two years is Rs 4,954 crore.”
Of the total 3,35,725 works completed, people-driven projects number 8,671.
At Manegaon village, 80 per cent work of compartment bunding on 1,100 hectares of land has been completed. Officials informed the chief minister that the remaining work should be completed before the monsoons. “I am told by the villagers that the water is as good as ‘Bisleri water’. It really felt good to note these changes. Clear water is the result of the percolation technique adopted in Jalyuktya Shivar,” said Fadnavis. Farmers in the villages said that despite receiving an average rainfall of 250 mm last year, the water stored in Jalyukta Shivar structures helped them irrigate their fields.
Explaining the benefits of the project, villager Somshankar Swami said: “Prior to the well recharge work, it would take us 15 days to water a farm. Now, we can do it in six days.” He added: “Earlier, bore wells would work for only two hours a day. Now, after the water recharge project, the water levels are high and borewells operate for around 8 hours a day.”
In Sitama lake where desilting work is under progress in Mandrup village, south Solapur, the total water shed area is 1.42 square mile. While the original storage capacity was 4.93 million cubic feet, deepening work has provided an additional capacity of 4.35 million cubic feet. According to estimates, it will bring 22 hectares of additional land under irrigation.