Amid drought concerns, Maharashtra ministers gets politicalhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra/amid-drought-concerns-maharashtra-ministers-gets-political/

Amid drought concerns, Maharashtra ministers gets political

The water conservation initiative was a pet project of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Taking a swipe at the previous Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regime in Maharashtra, state’s Water Conservation minister Pankaja Munde on Friday alleged irregularities in water conservation initiatives by the erstwhile regime.

With the state witnessing a severe drought in 2012-13, the Congress, NCP regime had taken up construction of cement check dams, and training and deepening of local water sources in a big way. The water conservation initiative was a pet project of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

“Our review has shown that cement check dams were built even in areas where these were not necessary. While the focus ought to have been serving water scarce and drought prone areas, we have come across complaints which show that the approach was more on setting up these projects in areas controlled by ruling legislators,” Munde said.

“The irregularities are being probed, and action will be taken against all those responsible for such cases.” Department’s secretary Prabhakar Deshmukh however said that such complaints accounted for only 2-3 per cent of all projects taken up previously.

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Meanwhile, Munde announced that the BJP, Shiv Sena government would start its integrated water conservation and management initiative (Jalyukt Shivar) in 2500 village at one go on January 26. Aimed at making Maharashtra drought proof in five years, the ambitious project will first be implemented in 5000 village, where water scarcity is the most acute.

Munde said that the government would take up third party monitoring and satellite mapping of works taken up under the initiative. Nearly 24,000 villages in Maharashtra are under the shadow of drought at present.

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