Maharashtra government seeking loan from World Bank to deal with Drought

maharashtra drought
The image is of Majara Dam, near Latur in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government is planning to take a bank loan of Rs. 5,000 crore for drought mitigation work, from water conservation to changing the crop pattern. The work will be carried in selected districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha, according to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The state government will soon be submitting a proposal to the World Bank through the Centre. They have submitted a proposal to the External Affairs Ministry on the instructions given to them by the World Bank. Besides that, a meeting will also be held between the two officials and the matter will be discussed. CM Devendra Fadnavis said that normally the process of submitting a proposal and the reimbursement of the loan takes more than a year, but he has requested the World Bank to consider this proposal and give them the loan at the earliest.

World Bank’s help is being taken to make Maharashtra a drought-free state. The drought has been declared by the state government in 27,723 villages of the 43,000 villages in the state. It is more severe in eight districts of Marathwada; Latur, Beed, Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Hingoli, Nanded and Jalna. Fadnavis said, “We have requested World Bank Officials to help us tackle drought from the specific fund they have created for drought mitigation.” If World Bank sanctions the loan, drought mitigation will be carried in Latur, Aurangabad, Beed and Osmanabad in Marathwada and Akola, Buldana and Amravati in Vidarbha.

Fadnavis said, “The World Bank will support 3,000 villages from Marathwada and 2,000 from Vidarbha to make them drought free. We will focus on water conservation works and later decide the crop pattern of drought-prone regions.”

In Marathwada, the level of the water reservoir has dropped to 3% of the total storage capacity. An update was released by the state water resources department on April 15, said that Maharashtra’s 2559 major, medium and minor dams have only 19% live storage capacity, whereas, on April 15, 2015, and 2014, the live storage capacity was 32% and 38% respectively.

On being asked about the sugarcane crop, which consumes a lot of water, Fadnavis said that he cannot stop sugar mills from operating but they can bring sugarcane crop under drip irrigation. Also, he said that sugarcane farming is sustainable and is also the first choice of the farmers.

State government has also instructed municipal corporations to provide treated sewage water to industries.

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