Following ‘revolutionary' amendment, agriculture will receive priority over industry

In a decision termed “historic” and “revolutionary” by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the State government has changed its policy on water allocation, giving priority to agriculture over industry.

Mr. Chavan announced the decision in the Legislative Council, where the controversial Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2011 was passed on Wednesday.

Reversing its earlier move to divert irrigation water for industrial use, Mr. Chavan said that as per the changed order of priority, water would be allocated first for drinking purposes, followed by agriculture and then industry.

With this amendment, the Bill would be re-tabled in the Assembly.

“Food security and farmers are our top priority. That does not mean we give any less importance to industry. If need be, we will buy water for industrial purposes, but will not divert irrigation water,” Mr. Chavan said.