More than two years after getting the proposal, the Centre on Tuesday agreed to give Rs2,500 crore -- 25% of the Rs10,000 crore – over the next two years for irrigation projects in 14 suicide-hit and 8 drought-prone areas in Maharashtra.
The state had submitted a list of 107 micro-irrigation projects for the 14 districts that would cost Rs7,200 crore and demanded 60% funding from the Centre. The state said completion of these projects would help reduce the number of suicides.
The government had proposed 87 projects for drought-prone talukas, at an estimated cost of Rs25,000 crore. As the Centre expressed inability to fund the project and suggested the state identify projects in dark zone, the state revised the list and proposed eight projects with an estimated cost of Rs3,500 crore.
The 107 projects include Tembhu lift irrigation, Shelgaon Barrage, Urmodi, Lendi irrigation among others, while the eight projects are in Sangali, Satara and Jalgaon.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, along with water resources minister Girish Mahajan and senior officials, met union finance minister Arun Jaitley, officials of Niti Ayog and principal secretary of prime minister’s office Nripendra Mishra on Tuesday and requested the approval.
Fadnavis said Jaitley has given approval to the project and will help the state government to complete the projects. “Suicide-hit and drought-prone areas of Marathwada and parts of north and western Maharashtra will benefit from it,” Fadnavis said, after the meeting in Delhi.
“Jaitleyji has given approval to 86 projects, with estimated cost of Rs6,000 crore, and in-principle nod for other projects with costing Rs 4000 crore. The Centre has also allowed us to raise 75% of the cost as loan from Nabard,” water resources minister Girish Mahajan told HT.
As the estimated cost of the projects proposed is much more than the budgetary allocation, the government proposed them to bring them outside the state budget. Mahajan said this would help complete the projects in the next three years. Eighty of them will be completed in one year once the loan is approved.