The state of Maharashtra has faced water-scarcity due to poor management as well as other climatic reasons. The state was badly hit by drought in the monsoon season even in this year as well, especially regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada. So, in a bid to make the state free of water scarcity by the year 2019, an innovative initiative was launched by the new elected government namely Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan. Termed as a “Game Changer” scheme, is a flagship programme for water conservation which aims to make 5000 villages drought free every year.
What is this initiative?
The state government has laid out specific procedures to achieve their goal of making the state scarcity-free such as-
- Construction of new check dams as well as renovating/reviving the old check dams
- Broadening and deepening river base
- Connecting stream/nullahs with water storage bodies
- Removing any kind of sediment from rivers, lakes, ponds and canals which prevents water percolation or which stops water from flowing properly
- Tree plantation
- Building tanks, wells (for both individual and community usages), canals, small ponds etc.
- Rrepairing Kolhapur Type (KT) weirs and storage tanks.
These measures thus would increase the proportion of irrigated land. Water audit is the basis of the programme as the concerned district collectors would rigorously check the proper usage of water.
Allocation of money
The state government has allocated a whooping Rs. 1,000 cr. for the first phase of this ambitious project.
A state which suffers from acute agrarian crisis because of extreme water scarcity, its’ acclaimed water conservation scheme Jalyukt Shivar programme has so far shown tremendous results.
- The state has so far completed over 1.4 lakh works and another 35,000 are in progress. Also, in this year’s monsoon, the state government in just three days was able to collect over 24 thousand million cubic feet of water which can irrigate almost 6 lakh hectares of land thus recording a huge achievement of the state government.
- In Amravati division alone, 4,359 works have been completed and 20131 TCM new water storage has been created in 253 villages. Also, more than 20,000 farmers in the district alone could get the direct benefit from this storage.
- In the first phase, however, the work has started in 6,180 villages. Out of which, 4,244 works have been completed in 2,939 villages worth just about Rs. 300 cr.
- The government so far has spent near about Rs. 1,400 cr. in the first phase and the Chief Minister’s Office reportedly said that there would be somewhere between Rs. 4,500 cr. to Rs. 5,000 cr. for the 2016-2017 phase.
- From Rajni village in Katol taluka to narkhed, the farmers previously used to sow traditional crops but this new water conservation management has given them other variable options for cultivation like oranges and sweet limes which thus gives farmers a ‘lifeline’.
- The state government of Rajasthan has also planned to replicate this model and aims at making 25,000 villages immune to water scarcity in the next five years which thereby shows the success of this programme.
The programme has so far shown positive results but how does it perform in the rest of its phases in the next coming years is where the significance lies.
(With inputs and data from Mr. Manish Chandak)