With the state government looking to appoint a new Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA), the topmost position for the body is up for grabs.
The state has invited applications for a chairperson and four other experts for the committee, which is an apex authority for regulating all water resources in the state, clearing irrigation projects, ensuring equitable distribution of water according to an integrated plan and deciding water tariffs.
The state’s water resources department has invited applications for the post of the chairperson of the authority besides four other expert members, one each from water resources, engineering, law, economics and ground water management. The post of the chairperson has been reserved for a sitting or retired state official of the rank of the Chief Secretary of the state (sitting or retired) or a retired high court judge. The term of office for the MWRRA chairperson and expert members is three years.
The application comes on the heels of an amendment to the MWRRA Act in the recent session of the state legislature. There was a buzz in political circles that the state’s chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, who retires in January 2017, may resign to take up this job. However, when contacted by HT, Kshatriya denied this as did sources close to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Sources told HT that while the government had received over a dozen applications, no former chief secretary had applied for the chairman’s job yet.
The role of the authority, which was first set up in 2002, after passing the MWRRA Act, has become crucial in wake of the irrigation scam and disputes over water distribution during scarcity. In the last decade or so the authority was largely bypassed with several irrigation projects getting cleared without its nod. The integrated water plan for the state as mandated under the law has also not been prepared so far and is currently under way. The new MWRAA will now be responsible for clearing the state’s water plan, prepared after considering five separate river basins.