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Posted at: May 8, 2016, 1:14 AM; last updated: May 8, 2016, 12:11 PM (IST)

Evolve long-term plans to tackle drought: PM

Meets CMs of UP, Maharashtra, reviews water situation; Akhilesh draws BJP ire for seeking more funds

M’rashtra mulls more water trains

  • Maharashtra government is considering rolling out more “water trains” to parched areas of the state as a worsening summer dries up water supplies in more areas of the state
  • The government has already stopped release of water for agriculture in order to conserve it for drinking
  • While water is transported via tankers to various parts of Maharashtra, officials are considering transport via the railways like it is being done for Latur city
Evolve long-term plans to tackle drought: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets a delegation from Uttar Pradesh led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to discuss drought situation in various parts of the state, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reviewed the drought and water scarcity situation in worst-hit Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra with respective Chief Ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Devendra Fadnavis, asking them to focus on medium and long term solutions for drought-proofing. 

However, opposition-ruled UP faced BJP ire when Yadav sought additional drought relief package from the Centre to deal with the perennial problem in the Bundelkhand region. The ruling party accused the Samajwadi Party-run UP government “of not being serious about tackling the situation and corruption in drought management funds” despite an equal drought and water crisis in saffron-ruled Maharashtra— a state with dubious record of maximum number of farmers’ suicides in the country.

“Bundelkhand suffers from drought each year. But the state government has failed in putting in evolving long-term measures. It has the right to seek funds from the Centre, but the state administration had recently noted that it spent only 5 per cent of a previous package of Rs 850 crore.

“The SP government shows a lot of keenness and promptness in publishing advertisements about its successes, which are hardly visible on ground. Had it shown some of this in tackling drought, things would have been different in Bundelkhand,” BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said, alleging that corruption had claimed the major chunk of Rs 35,000-crore package announced for the development of Bundelkhand earlier.

Regarding the crisis in party-ruled Maharashtra where the BJP has been in power since October 2014, he blamed the Congress for “not doing anything on the issue during the 15 years it was in power”. “We congratulate the CM (Devendra Fadnavis) for working on a long-term permanent solution for resolving the irrigation issues, which will start showing results soon,” Sharma said.

As per a PMO statement, the PM also appreciated Fadnavis’s efforts for “doubling farm income and working towards drought-free Maharashtra”. To Yadav, he talked on the Centre and states working together to mitigate the problems due to drought.

Stressing on the use of technology — remote sensing and satellite imaging for planning of water conservation and recharge structures — the PM urged for change in cropping patterns based on scientific advice, use of drip and sprinkler irrigation and increasing water use efficiency through community participation, especially women, for better water management. 

Fadnavis said the state government was working on a plan to ensure that 100 per cent of the sugarcane growing area in Maharashtra came under drip irrigation in three years. 

Yadav shared the action plan for revival and restoration of 78,000 water bodies, including tanks, ponds and farm ponds; one lakh new water bodies and recharge structures by utilising funds available under schemes like MGNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. 

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