Jalyukta Shivar

Amid fears of inlation due to possible loss of rabi crops subsequent to poor rainfall this season, comes a ray of hope. Late rain all has helped place enough water stock in the newly created 1.2 lakh artificial ponds, bunds, and recharged nullahs, enhancing Maharashtra's water storage capacity by 25 TMC, half of Mumbai's annual supply . And all his has been done by spending just Rs.1,400 crore, much less than the Rs.8,000 crore the state would have required to create larger dams of the same capacity . This thanks to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's pet project Jalyukta Shivar, which has created this infrastructure to bring 6 lakh hectares of land in 6,200 villages under irrigation. Parineeta Dandekar, a water researcher, doubted the present water stock in the 25 TMC-capacity ponds and bunds due to poor rains this year, but said the added capacity would surely help in taking care of rabi crops and domestic water needs in Marathwada and Vidarbha provided these resources were managed well by the villagers. Researchers, however, warn that these projects should be in tune with natural groundwater flows or else the money would go down the drain.
Also the burden of maintaining such ponds, bunds and nullahs will not be on the government as it would be done by villagers who have contributed ­ cash, land and labour ­ for the initiative, he added. However, a senior irrigation official refuted the claim of CMO official that water stock would last for five-six months and said it would help for three-four months of rabi season as the evaporation of water should also be considered.

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