Maharashtra government had launched the project “Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyaan” in a bid to make Maharashtra a drought-free state by 2019. It is one of the most drought prone regions of Bharat. The unfortunate news of farmers suicide was very common from this state. The infamous incident of railways transporting water by train to Latur showed the severity of droughts in Maharashtra.
However, the government led by CM Devendra Fadnavis skillfully designed and implemented this project wherein they invited corporate, private individuals and NGOs, along with involvement of local public made it a success. Looking at the latest statistics and the positive trend due this project, it seems this target of drought free Maharashtra can be easily achieved.
As reported in The Indian Express, there is a steady decline in water tankers in drought-hit villages where Jalyukta Shivar works were completed. In 12,000 villages which have become water reliant, only 152 tankers were needed during the four months of summer this year.
Data for the same period in these villages during summer in 2015 was 6,140 tankers.
In 2016, tanker deployment came down to 1,379 and in 2017, they dwindled to 366. By the end of summer this year, it was all time low of 152 tankers.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis initiated the Jalyukta Shivar in 2015. Of the total 40,913 villages, 25,000 villages were drought prone. According to officials in the water conservation department, “The total villages where Jalyukta Shivar work has been undertaken are 16,521. The total projects in these villages were 4.98 lakhs.”
Fadnavis said, “The success of Jalyukta Shivar is public partnership. It has become a mass movement where villagers lend support through physical labour (shramdan) and monetary contributions. There is a great sense of ownership to the project which makes its unique and sustainable.”
According to sources in the water conservation department, “The total expenditure incurred on 4.98 lakh works in 16,521 villages does not exceed Rs 7258 crore in three years.” Public contribution for the project for last three years was Rs 630.62 crore. The number of projects completed through public participation was 10,522.
As reported in Economics Times, CM Devendra Fadnavis also said that the state had maximum agricultural production during the kharif season of 2017-18, despite 30 per cent less rainfall, due to effective water conservation schemes of the state government which includes Jalyukta Shivar.
Thus, it can be said that this is an example of how effective leadership from the elected representatives and political leaders can bring about significant change in lives of millions of people.
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