Irrigation projects pending approvals because of cost escalations may get the Maharashtra government’s nod soon, the state said on Monday.
The power to approve these cost escalations could be moved to regional irrigation boards.
Maharashtra finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar made these remarks in the legislative council, while responding to a question raised by Congress legislator Manikrao Thakre.
Mungantiwar said Vidarbha and Marathwada are suffering because of lack of irrigation facilities and that a backlog spreads across 2.70 lakh hectares in Vidarbha alone.
At present, of the 452 ongoing projects across the state, 270 are stuck owing to various reasons. Of these, 142 have been stalled because of cost escalations, while another 119 are stuck owing to land acquisition issues. In Vidarbha alone, 39 projects are pending approvals because of cost escalation.
“We have decided to prioritise all projects that can be finished within a year’s time. We will sanction the whole amount for such projects this year itself. In the same way, we will also prioritise projects that can be completed in two years,” said Mungantiwar.
Mungantiwar said the BJP-Shiv Sena government has already accelerated the process of approvals ever since it assumed office. “We have approved 22 overall escalations so far, of which six projects are in Vidarbha,” he said.
The state is also looking at different ways of funding projects. “We are considering different options — from raising loans to deferring payments, we are weighing several options to fund projects,” Mungantiwar said.