Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari on Saturday requested the Maharashtra Government to take initiative for preparation of detailed project report (DPR) for the formation of the State Water Grid to overcome the recurring flood crisis in the State. This would help the government to ensure the availability of the water in drought-prone areas and save the resources to manage the flood crisis.
Gadkari has drawn the attention of the Chief Minister in this letter towards the serious issue of heavy loss of lives and property that occur in the state of Maharashtra every year due to floods. He has added that the floods create and trigger serious problems in different parts of the state and there is an urgent need to chalk out a plan to manage this natural disaster that becomes grave because of other man-made factors.
The Union Minister has suggested to the Government of Maharashtra to take up the ambitious project of formation of the State Water Grid on the lines of the National Power Grid and Highway Grid. The idea is to divert the floodwater from one river basin to the other river basin in the drought-prone area of the state. The areas with a shortage of water, scanty rainfall can get relief by the Grid. This would help to increase the area under irrigation while bringing a significant reduction in the numbers of suicides of farmers. The letter goes on to say that various studies have shown that the incidents of the farmers’ suicide have come down in the areas where the irrigation cover is more than 55%.
The Minister mentioned that this would also help to increase agriculture produce and strengthen the rural and national economy. The diverted floodwaters would relieve the stress on the local resources. Transportation of goods and passengers through rivers (Water Transport) can be commenced in near future. Fishing and other businesses can flourish alongside and major employment can be generated if such project is taken up as essential infrastructure.