State has increased irrigation capacity as well as water storage capacity: Mahajan
Mumbai : The Water Resources Department has developed 44k hectare of irrigation capacity and enhanced the storage capacity by 350 million cubic metres (MCM) in the year 2014-15, Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan has said.
The department has completed 26 projects in year 2015-16 and by June this year the irrigation capacity is expected to be raised by 71k hectares and the storage capacity to 767 MCM, the minister has said in a statement released here on Tuesday.
It may be noted that NCP leader and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had recently said while speaking at Jalgaon that the state has not added even a single percent in the irrigation capacity in past year and a half. He had also alleged that the incomplete projects don’t get enough attention and if the condition continues to be so, there would be a surge in farmers’ suicides.
While reacting to Pawar’s statements, Mahajan said that the numbers and the ground reality don’t corroborate with Pawar’s comments, but the state government would seek his guidance keeping in view his vast experience in the field.
“The state government has adopted a policy to make available the complete budgetary allocation to the irrigation projects, which has helped the department to achieve the targets,” the minister said adding that this is for the first time in past several years that the department has got its complete allocated funding. For the year 2016-17, the department has been allocated Rs 7857 crore and we have set a target to complete 28 projects, the minister said. “We shall add 1.68 lakh hectares to the irrigation capacity,” he added.
The government has given revised administrative approvals (RAA) to 98 projects of which 32 are from Vidarbha and seven are from Marathwada, Mahajan said and added that considering the time lapsed in getting RAA, the projects have been awarded permissions to spend more than RAA in line with the budgetary allocations for the financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The department has followed a farmer-centric approach while carrying out the work, the minister said and added that the increased irrigation capacity would be visible after the onset of monsoon.