Maha cabinet approves Rs 1,340-crore water conservation scheme

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Mumbai, Feb 4 (PTI) The Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday approved a new scheme under which a sum of Rs 1,340 crore will be spent over three years to enhance irrigation capacityand create additional water bodies.

The chief minister water conservation programme is being implemented after the MVA government discontinued the previous BJP administration's 'Jalyukt Shivar' project that involved deepening and widening of streams, construction of cement and earthen stop dams and digging of farm ponds.

A statement issued by the Chief Ministers Office after a cabinet meeting here said under the programme, repair and restoration of existing water bodies will be taken up.

Existing water bodies built under 7,916 conservation schemes need special repairs, the statement said.

In the last 30 to 40 years, a lot of water bodies have been created under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and other programmes meant for drought mitigation, it said.

But, since these programmes have not been implemented to their full capacity, the water bodies created under them have not been maintained properly or repaired regularly, the statement said.

The new water conservation and irrigation capacity enhancement scheme will be implemented till March 2023 and it will incur a cost of Rs 1,340 crore, it said.

The statement said percolation tanks, storage barrage and other water bodies up to 600 hectares will be taken up for repairs and restoration.

The Devendra Fadnavis regime's flagship water conservation programme, 'Jalyukt Shivar', that aimed at making the state drought-free, was shelved by the MVA government last year citing 'sub-standard work' under the project.

In another decision, the cabinet withdrew orders of the previous Fadnavis government to dissolve the Nagpur Improvement Trust twice - in December 2016 and August 2019.

The government felt there was no need to implement the earlier decisions related to the trust, the statement said.

The improvement trust had been engaged in planned development of Nagpur city and maintaining its existing infrastructure. PTI MR RSY RSY