Aamir to help Maharashtra farmers combat drought

Actor Aamir Khan.  

Faced with an increased risk of seasonal drought and subsequent suicide by thousands of farmers every year, the Maharashtra government has now roped in actor Amir Khan to promote its flagship schemes in the sector of water and scarcity. The actor is likely to be associated with government’s ‘Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan’, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ flagship scheme to make Maharashtra a drought-free state by 2019. The programme aims to make 5,000 villages free of water scarcity every year. Fadnavis is likely to make an announcement in the regard along with the actors on Wednesday.

The actor, who has been at the centre of a controversy over his comments on intolerance, is lately seen working closely with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leadership in Maharashtra. On Saturday night the Khan attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the Make in India Week, while on Sunday he was getting ready to recite a Marathi poem at the Maharashtra cultural night before the fire engulfed the proceedings at the event on Chowpatty beach. Refusing to divulge further details on the latest initiative, the actor told The Hindu: “It is something I have been working on for a year now,” the actor said. Fadnavis told The Hindu the actor’s role will be specifically restricted to the Jal Yukt Shivar for the time being. “As of now he would not be promoting other sectors but just the Jal Yukt Shivar scheme,” the chief minister told The Hindu.

Senior officials said the actor would be asked to promote use of micro-irrigation system for efficient use of water, thereby increasing the irrigated area in the drought-prone regions. The government has already allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the scheme while merging other water initiatives into it. The aim, officials said, it to stop further farmer suicides in the regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada.

According to an estimate, both the regions have suffered drought with a water deficit ranging from 20% to 40% in 2014 and 2015. “The water level, too, have fallen drastically in these regions. Having somebody socially-oriented like Amir Khan to promote these causes, would not only give it a wider reach but also take the message across to a broader audience both in rural and urban Maharashtra,” said a senior official from the state government.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 8:40:57 AM |

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