Pune: The Maratha Mahasabha on Friday took objection to the new groundwater policy, under which the cess on extraction of groundwater will be increased by up to four times, calling it partial against the farming community. The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) collects cess under the Water Resources Act, 2005.
The new policy will require the registration of all wells in the State with the groundwater corporation, after which a cess will be charged for extracting water from the wells, with the amount increasing proportionately with the depth of the well. The government has decided to implement the increased cess fearing depletion of groundwater levels in the State.
The organisation, in its statement, said that while there is rampant extraction of groundwater by industries, urban areas and corporations, the lawmakers and capitalists are pushing the blame on to farmers who feed the country instead. Farmers are being blamed for an environmental crisis created by other factors, it added.
The statement adds that there can be other solutions to the crisis. It says the crisis has been created by urbanisation and industrialisation. The farmer depends on rainwater and irrigation to irrigate his farmland.
Smaller cities, water harvesting and regulation of industry and irrigation is necessary. It is the responsibility of every individual and community to conserve groundwater and farmers should not be targeted by such unfair laws, as they are already suffering from other crises, the organisation further added.