A special cabinet meeting of Maharashtra government, which convened on Tuesday, decided to widen the irrigation network in drought-prone Marathwada region of the state. Irrigation projects worth over Rs 9000 crores were approved for the region, which has been reeling under drought for past five years.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also announced that the projects would be prioritized and completed by 2019.
The situation in Marathwada was reversed this monsoon, as the region witnessed incessant rainfall in the last fortnight. Numerous dams in the region are overflowing after more than a decade. Crops, mainly soyabean, spread over a million hectares, have been damaged owing to excessive rain in the past few days.
After the cabinet meeting, Fadnavis said that his government understood the plight of Marathwada farmers who were hit by prolonged drought at first and now by very heavy rainfall. He said that he had ordered revenue officials to make a detailed assessment and provide immediate assistance to the farmers. There is no need for a special survey, as damage is visible and crops spread over 15 lakh hectres have been affected, said Fadnavis.
The cabinet meet also announced setting up of a water conservation commissionerate at Aurangabad to oversee irrigation projects for Marathwada.
With the help of railway ministry, the government also decided to invest more than Rs 5000 crore in widening the railway network in Marathwada region.
Another important decision taken at the meeting included allocation of Rs 1000 crore to make Aurangabad a Smart City.