Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport Highways and MSMEs made a request to the Maharashtra government to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the construction of the State Water Grid in order to address the state’s frequent flood crisis.
In a letter to Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray, his cabinet colleagues and Sharad Pawar, MP, dated 14 October 2020, Gadkari requested an early decision, from the state government, on the issue of flood crisis and water unavailability in the areas prone to drought, followed by action on it.
In this letter, Gadkari drew the attention of the Chief Minister to the critical matter of the heavy loss of lives and damage to the property that happens each year due to floods in the state of Maharashtra. He added that in various parts of the state, the floods cause and trigger severe problems, and there is an immediate need to chalk out a strategy to tackle this natural catastrophe that becomes extreme due to several man-made factors.
Gadkari recommended Maharashtra government that the important project of creating the State Water Grid on the National Power Grid and Highway Grid lines should be taken up. The aim is to move the flood water in the drought-prone portion of the state from one river basin to the other river basin. Scanty rainfall will get relief from the grid in areas with water shortages. This will maximise the region of irrigation, thus reducing the number of farmers’ suicides to a large degree. The letter further states that multiple reports have shown that cases of suicide by farmers have fallen down in regions where the cover for irrigation is above 55%.
The Minister noted that this would help to improve the production of agriculture and support the rural and national economy. The diverted water of the flood would alleviate the burden on local resources. In the near future, moving goods and passengers via rivers (water transport) can be commenced. In addition, fishing and other businesses will thrive and, if such a project is taken up, significant jobs can be created.
By using the soil from water sources, drains and rivers to create highways, Gadkari has mentioned that his ministry is doing water conservation. Conservation of water and N.H. Synchronization not only results in the growth of potential for water storage but also protects the environment. This operation was carried out initially as a pilot project on a wide scale in the district of Buldhana and thus was labelled ‘Buldhana pattern’. About 225 lakh cubic metres of material from water sources, drains and rivers have been utilized in highway works as a consequence of a rise in water storage capacity of 22500 TCM (Thousand Cubic Meter) at ‘No cost State Government ‘ with this project in Maharashtra. The floods have decreased due to deepening and training of rivers, drains, etc., which rather scattered in surrounding fields due to reduced discharge potential of rivers and drains. NITI Aayog, which is in the process of shaping policy based on this work, has acknowledged and embraced this convergence.
The minister further mentioned that in the districts of Wardha and Nagpur, Tamaswada pattern is being followed to harvest, conserve and recharge ground water. These experiments are carried out on the basis of HydroGeology, Topography and Civil Engineering studies focused on the Science and Full Creation of Mini-Micro Watersheds. This pattern is most beneficial in producing improved storage of surface rain and ground water. Such patterns result in the restoration and conservation of existing sources of natural water.
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