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Maharashtra to seek highest priority status from Centre for irrigation projects in drought prone region

Although in majority of the projects central clearances have been sought, state wants the Centre to accord a special category status to facilitate immediate financial assistance up to Rs 10,800 crore.

Written by Shubhangi Khapre | Mumbai |
Updated: September 11, 2017 6:15:38 am
Maharashtra farmer leaders, Maharashtra farmer leaders on farm loan waiver, farm loan waiver, Raghunanthdada Patil, Fadnavis Of the total 107 irrigation projects, 81 are in Vidarbha and 26 are in Marathwada region. (File Photo)

The state government will seek highest priority status from the Centre for the 107 irrigation projects in the drought-prone region of Vidarbha and Marathwada. The projects are likely to bring in additional 2.52 lakh hectares of land under irrigation and increase water storage to 1077.53 mm3. The total cost of the 107 projects is around Rs 12,531. 95 crore.

Of the total 107 irrigation projects, 81 are in Vidarbha and 26 are in Marathwada region. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in an internal report to the Centre has said: “The completion of the 107 irrigation projects in Vidarbha and Marathwada would help in tackling water and agriculture crisis in the districts. Therefore, the state would appeal to the Centre to accord the projects highest priority.”

Although in majority of the projects central clearances have been sought, state wants the Centre to accord a special category status to facilitate immediate financial assistance up to Rs 10,800 crore. The proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Water Resources, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance.

Water resources Minister Girish Mahajan said: “The ministry has given higher priority to complete the irrigation projects in Marathwada and Vidarbha in the given timeline.” According to data of the ministry, “Out of the total 355 talukas in Maharashtra 173 talukas come under drought. Which means almost 50 per cent of the state is drought prone.” In India, the total number of drought-prone talukas are 971.

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The 81 projects in Vidarbha would bring 1.06 lakh hectares of land under irrigation and create water storage of 444.68 mm3.
Amravati district in Vidarbha has highest number of projects at 24, followed by Washim (18), Yavatmal (15), Akola (11), Buldhana (10) and Wardha (3).

In Marathwada region, the 26 irrigation projects are spread across the districts of Aurangabad (5), Jalna(4), Parbhani(1), Nanded(4), Beed(1), Latur (9) and Osmanabad(2). The projects would require Rs 7186 crore and create irrigation potential for 1.46 lakh hectares and water storage capacity of 632.85 mm3.

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