Farmers’ suicides may soon be a thing of the past in the Vidarbha region, if the efforts taken by the Maharashtra government through its ambitious Jalyukta Shivar pay off.
The project involves deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams, work on nullahs and digging of farm ponds. The state claims around 50% of the total one lakh water conservation works under the scheme are on the verge of completion. Different projects are under progress at more than 6,000 villages in the state and around 20,000 villages will benefit over the next four years. The state has given special emphasis on the scheme in the suicide-prone Vidarbha region, on an average, three farmers commit suicide daily owing to crop failure.
A case in point could be the reservoir constructed in Wardha district. “The water level of the area has increased phenomenally,” said Abhay Dhokne, a farmer from the district, who has an 8-acre plot. “Earlier, the water in our wells wouldn’t last for more than 2-3 hours, but now the water storage is impressive,” he said.
Ashish Deshmukh, BJP legislator from Katol, claimed the new water conservation method will provide ample water for irrigation. Ashutosh Salil, collector, Wardha, said, “The scheme is working well in the district. The dams are getting filled with rainwater. We plan to include more villages under the scheme next year.”