For years Maharashtra faced severe water crisis with hundreds of farmers committing suicide and people suffering without availability of drinking water. But when the BJP government came to power, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadanavis took up the Jalyukt Shivar with an attempt to make Maharashtra drought-free by 2019.
The project involved deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen check dams, work on nullahs and digging of farm ponds to prevent water wastage and improve storage conditions. The project was largely successful in helping many drought-hit areas save water during monsoon. Amongst the 25,000 drought-hit villages, 11,247 villages were helped through Jal Yukt Shivar. The farmers here were encouraged to take up two crops and participate largely in the water restoration. The Jal yukt projects were taken in Konkan (300 villages), Pune (900 villages), Nashik (1100 villages), Aurangabad (1400 villages), Amravati (1300 villages) and Nagpur (1200 villages).
By the end of March 2018, there were 1.8 Lakh jalyukt shivar projects completed which included widening and deepening of rivers, constructing cement bunds and desilting of water structures, which helped to create an additional water storage capacity of 15 TMC. Apart from these, the farm pounds construction have reached 1 Lakh which has helped increase the ground water level.
Now, the Maharashtra government has made another massive progress in water management. The ambitious river linking project of PM Modi is now being taken forward by Maharashtra government. 3 years back, when PM Modi first mentioned about the river linking project to solve the water problem in the country, many people criticized and mocked him saying the project was unrealistic. They said river linking can never be done. But now, for the first time, the Maharashtra government under the Integrated State Water Plan project has confirmed the linking of 6 river basins. With this, Maharashtra is set to become the first state to execute such a project, which would facilitate water transfer and equitable distribution. Indian Express Report
The state has decided to link the Godavari, Tapi, Krishna, Narmada, Mahanadi and western flowing rivers and the Chief Minister directed the water resources department to complete all processes and start implementing the project before July 15.
Maharashtra is the first state in the country to have in place an integrated water plan. It is a historic decision. It was a mammoth exercise as it relates to the integration of the all major six river basins flowing across the state. The exercise entails micro planning. It could be considered as a big step towards boosting irrigation and sustainable agriculture,” Fadnavis said. “Water management of overflowing rivers in Konkan rivers should be reworked through innovate models… At least, 50 TMC of water should be saved to resolve problems of drinking water. In the absence of planning, the excess water flows into the Arabian Sea,” the CM said.
So, PM Modi’s ambitious project is now being brought to reality by the Maharashtra government which will facilitate 225 lakh hectares of cultivable land in the state which fall under the drought-hit areas. With this, Maharashtra may soon become drought free within a year and set an example to all other states in the country.