Maharashtra govt gives Rs 7,850 cr for irrigation

Focusing on agriculture, state budget gives Rs 600 crore more to key department than last fiscal year to fund 28 projects

March 19, 2016 10:05 am | Updated November 17, 2021 02:01 am IST

The scam-tainted state irrigation department has been allocated Rs 7,850 crore in the state budget presented on Friday, or nearly Rs 600 crore more than the Rs 7,272 crore it received in the previous fiscal year.

“I feel very proud and happy to state that the budgetary provision of Rs 7,272 crore for water resources projects provided during year 2015-16 has been completely distributed. Projects which will yield immediate benefits to farmers were given priority in the release of funds,” said Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

The irrigation sector in Maharashtra has been marred by controversy in recent years after two senior ministers from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the previous Congress-NCP government were accused of financial irregularities, and a Rs 70,000-crore scam is alleged to have taken place in the department.

Mr Mungantiwar claimed that the budgetary provision will result in completion of 28 projects, create additional water storage of 770 million cubic metres (MCM) and bring 1.68 lakh hectare of land under irrigation.

The government has not, however, specified the names of these 28 projects. Incidentally, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has already termed the approval to all 189 irrigation projects (worth Rs 5,600 crore given during year 2007-2013) as outside the scope of the law since all these projects fall outside the purview of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act (MWRRA), 2005. Of these, work on 66 projects is yet to begin.

The Act mandates the preparation of Integrated State Water Plan (ISWP) which is to be executed through the regulatory authority. As per the statutory timeframe, the ISWP was to be prepared way back in the year 2006 itself. In the absence of such a statutory ISWP, the state’s water policy was rendered rudderless. The government may proceed further on completing projects only after complying with the provisions of the Act.

Seven irrigation projects, at Waghur, Bavanthadi, Lower Dudhna, Tillari, Lower Wardha, Lower Panjhara and Nandur Madhveshwar Phase II have been included under the Pradhanmantri Krushi Sinchai Yojana.

In 2015-16, a budgetary provision of Rs 938 crore was made available and during 2016-17 a sizeable outlay of Rs 2,078 crore is being proposed.

Once completed, these projects will create an irrigation potential of 1 lakh hectares. Micro planning of generated additional irrigation capacity by specifying survey number under command area is stipulated for ensuring projected outcome.

Also in the budget

* Rs 3,473 for Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme and State Employment Guarantee Scheme

* Govardhan Govansh Raksha Kendras to be established in 34 rural districts for rearing of non-lactating and unproductive cattle breed with participation of experienced NGOs. A one-time grant of Rs 1 crore will be provided for this project. An outlay of Rs 34 crore is proposed in 2016-17 for these kendras.

* Renovation of Sassoon Dock, a major port for fishermen, at an estimated cost Rs 52.17 crore with 40% Central assistance. An outlay of Rs 15 crore proposed in 2016-17.

* Rs 1,000 crore for work under the Chief Minister Rural Road Development Scheme in unconnected habitats and areas not included in PMGSY. An outlay of Rs 500 crore proposed in 2016-17.

* Rs 456 crore proposed for electricity generation through new and renewable energy sources in 2016-17.

* Rs 4,462.69 crore proposed in 2016-17 for subsidising energy tariff for agriculture, power loom, industrial and commercial consumers

* An outlay of Rs 4,050 crore provided for building two- and four-lane roads on BOT basis with private participation. Rs 550 crore is proposed state share for this fiscal year.

* Rs 10 lakh for freedom fighters or their living spouses who don’t have a house in their or their close relatives’ name in their native place.

* Rs 90.47 crore for Mumbai Metro III (Nariman Point-BKC).

* Rs 50 crore for 300 special Tejaswini buses for women in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur, Kalyan, Dombivli.

* Rs 1,554 crore for Public Health Department; Rs 405 crore for Minority Development Department.

* Rs 350 crore for CCTV surveillance system installations in sensitive cities; Rs 320 crore for police housing

* Rs 20 crore in 2016-17 for Namami Chandrabhaga Mission on the lines of Namami Gange to clean up Chandrabhaga river at Pandharpur.

* Rs 5 crore in this fiscal year for Shivaji Memorial outside Maharashtra

* Rs 6,725.64 crore for Scheduled Caste Sub Plan; Rs 5,357.71 crore for Scheduled Tribe Sub Plan.

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