After months of drought ravaged the Marathwada region and its crops, incessant rain and floods over the past week has washed out nearly 50% of the crop, the state government has said.
CM Devendra Fadnavis is expected to hold a special cabinet meeting on Tuesday discuss the situation and discuss a compensation plan.
Agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said nearly 50% of the region’s crop was damaged. “There were no reports of floods from the weather bureau. There was only the forecast of heavy rain,” Fundkar said. The Marathwada region has received 140.3% more rain than the average annual rainfall, leading to floods. This unusual rain has forced the government to start a scientific study to deal with changing climate conditions.
The state special cabinet meet at Aurangabad is also expected to give an in-principle nod to a Rs15,000-crore water grid scheme to connect major water projects in the state through a network of closed pipelines. The government said the project will ensure water is available even during drought. The BJP-led government is also likely to announce slew of agricultural and infrastructure projects for the region, considered one of the state’s least developed. The state’s plan to announce these schemes come as the silent protests by the Maratha community gain momentum across Maharashtra. The protests had begun at Marathwada and the region’s anger against the government over the water scarcity and drought played a crucial role in converting a community protest into a movement that has rattled the state.
The government hopes the agro processing units, food parks and other agriculture-related projects will give the sluggish sector a push. Two textile parks and spinning mills, tur dal and oil seed processing units are on the agenda. The ‘Marathwada Water Grid’ project is aimed at providing a sustainable and permanent solution to drinking water woes by supplying tapped water to all homes. This means the entire water supply system will be connected through closed pipelines, instead of the current open water canal system. Around 12,978 and 79 cities or towns are expected to be benefited with it, the sources in the government revealed.
The major water dams, Jayakwadi, Ujni, Esapur, Khadagpurna, Manaar, Ninma Dudhna, Lower Terna etc, will be connected through the closed pipelines. This will help prevent water loss and allow equitable distribution, sources said.