Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said the Centre will provide up to Rs 60,000 crore to Maharashtra in the next two years for river-linking and irrigation projects to tackle the recurring water crisis.The dispute between Maharashtra and Gujarat over sharing of water in Nar-Par-Tapi-Narmada Basin will also be resolved soon and a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the two states next week, he said.
Talking to reporters after a review meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state officials, Gadkari said the work on two major river-linking projects in the state — Par-Tapi-Narmada and Damanganga-Pinjal — will begin soon.”Of the three river-linking projects undertaken by us, two are in Maharashtra. These are worth Rs 20,000 crore. We hope to start work on these projects over the next three months and hope to complete them in two years,” Gadkari said.
Fadnavis has proposed four more river-linking projects worth Rs 10,000 crore to which his ministry had given in- principle approval, Gadkari said.These projects are: Damanganga-Godavari, Damanganga- Vaitarna-Godavari, Par-Godavari and Nar-Par-Girna rivers.
“Apart from the river-linking projects, the Centre has, under the PM’s irrigation project (PMKSY), approved 26 irrigation projects in the state. Our contribution for these projects is around Rs 25,000 crore.”Besides, I have also asked the authorities to come up with certain innovative projects in this field for which we will be providing additional assistance,” he said.
Fadnavis said the two river-linking projects will make available nearly 50,000 million cubic feet (TMC) water for the state.”After the agreement (with Gujarat), the state will get its share of water, but apart from that we will get additional 50 TMC from these two river projects,” he said.
Claiming that only 22 per cent of the land is under irrigation in the country, Gadkari said, “We want to increase it to nearly 40 per cent in the coming years. Since the projects are concentrated in the water-starved regions of Marathwada, Vidarbha and northern Maharashtra, our farmers will benefit largely.