In the wake of a drought situation that has led to an agrarian crisis in Maharashtra, the state government has started preparing a district irrigation plan (DIP) for all districts. The exercise will help the government ascertain the minimum water requirement for each farm land and accordingly make plans for the scientific management of water.
Drought has become a permanent feature in the agrarian sector of the state in the past few years. According to a rough estimation, nearly 25 lakh farmers have lost their crops partly or entirely this financial year. Poor rainfall — 59.4% of the annual average — has resulted in crop loss on 53.10 lakh hectares comprising 15,747 villages from 21 districts, which account for nearly 35% of the state’s total area.
To overcome the situation, the state needs a permanent solution that can be made once the requirement of agricultural land is determined right from block level to district level. “DIP will give minimum requirement of water of each farm land, based on which plans will be made to make water available to them,” said Dinesh Kumar Jain, additional chief secretary (agriculture and marketing).
The DIP includes — area wise and crop wise irrigation status, production and productivity of major crops and status of ground water availability. It also will have village-level details that will be consolidated into a block-level plan, which will evolve into a DIP that can be used to fine-tune the existing irrigation system, an officer from the agriculture department said.
Vijay Jawambhia, an agriculture expert from Vidarbha, welcomed the move. He, however, stressed on the need for restrictions over lifting of water. “Things are not going to work if the government does not restrict lifting of water to hold ground water going down further,” Jawambhia told HT.