Intro : As the monsoon is approaching Maharashtra, the State Government is giving final push to the ambitious water conservation programme, Jal Yukt Shivar to tackle droughts.
Maharashtra BJP government has announced an ambitious water conservation scheme Jal Yukt Shivar (Developing a water body in each village) which is witnessing tremendous support from the people. The scheme is being implemented with the participation of the villages all around the State to conserve water and rainwater harvesting in rural areas. The in-charge Minister of the scheme, Babanrao Lonikar (Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation) who himself is from rural area of Jalana District of drought hit Marathwada region, talked to the Organiser.
Lonikar expressed confidence that at majority of the sites where the scheme is being implemented, the water harvesting will start with the mansoon this year. He said Marathwada had experienced water scarcity for many years due to bad management of erstwhile Congress governments. The Congress governments did not pay the farmers their dues against the land acquired, which resulted in 26 thousand farmers moving to the courts of justice and the furniture and vehicles of the Collectors and Executive Engineers been forfeited in many cases. The farmers stayed the water damming at various places. The government had initiated too many projects at a time, which resulted in chaos and non-completion of any of them.
Maharashtra’s new BJP government has initiated Jal Yukt Shivar scheme with people’s participation. It has simple motto of “Harvest the rain ater where it falls”. According to Shri Lonikar, one thousand villages are currently participating in this scheme and at many places, the expenses are being bore by the villages itself. Due to the severe drought situation faced by the Marathwada region, the Water Resources Ministrey has moved all its heavy machinery to Marathwada region from all over the state to help the completion of Jal Yukt Shivar projects. Many industrialists too have come forward to adopt the villages for this scheme.
Lonikar said that the water table fathomed so low that even after 700 feet digging, not a single drop of water could be found. He blamed the situation on uncontrolled and indiscriminate ground-water usage. He said his own village had no ground water still beyond 700 feet depth. But in last year, as the depth of the river running near the village was increased by clearing out the accumulated silt, the ground water level rose tremendously just in one year and now water can be found at 50 feet only. He told Organiser, that people will experience the change from this year’s monsoon. He said that, even if government has less money in coffers, every paisa is being properly used and intelligently invested in the schemes like this and the villages will be self sufficient in water and will be tanker-free in near future.
Lonikar added further answering a question that, due to importance of the scheme, the campaign is being run on the scale of Assembly elections and even party workers are involved in awareness building throughout the State. He assured that the scheme will be implemented only through people’s participation and PPP model will not be followed in this scheme. n