Mumbai Local

Regional irrigation boards get more power

The boards can now clear projects up to Rs 10,000 crore from an earlier limit of Rs 2,000 crore—File photo  

Faced with a looming drought and the problem of cost escalations in its irrigation projects, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday increased the powers of the regional irrigation boards in clearing projects up to Rs 10,000 crore from an earlier limit of Rs 2,000 crore. Several small but vital irrigation projects in the regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada have been pending for years because the regional boards do not have the powers to approve high cost escalations.

The boards, which were established in the year 2000, are mandated to approve projects of up to 250 hectare of irrigation potential, provided their cost does not exceed Rs 2,000 crore. The state cabinet on Tuesday increased this cap.

The boards have as many as 4,793 schemes pending of which 1,103 are complete, 1,377 are ongoing, and the remaining have been put on hold. According to an estimate, these schemes could take up to four years to complete.

“If we take into account the possible cost escalations in the pending schemes, the State would need an additional fund of Rs 5,000 crore. Considering this, it was decided to create a mechanism in giving speedy approval to small projects,” said an official of the irrigation department.

The State had last year decided to prioritise projects and to undertake only those which were vital from the point of view of increasing the irrigation potential.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 3:59:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/regional-irrigation-boards-get-more-power/article8216920.ece

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