Pune: “If we want to save desertification of Maharashtra, we need to have water meters for domestic and farming usage of water,” said former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan here on Sunday. He was speaking at the 16th annual Charitra (Character building) awards. The award was presented to the Waterman of the country, Dr Rajendra Singh. The awards are instituted by Charitra Pratishtan founder Ashok Mehta.
He said, “The ‘jalukata shivar yojana’ should be carried out scientifically otherwise it would spell doom for the State.”
Chavan said, “The unregulated use of water might cause serious problems for the State. Malkapur village in Karad taluka has domestic water meters and the person collects the reading of water usage with the help of RFID technology. On the lines of Centre’s Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, we should have a State regulatory commission for water.”
“Although, Maharashtra is the second largest state in the country in terms of area, the land under irrigation is only 28 per cent. We have highest numbers of dams on our rivers (few are partially constructed), which are due to wrong planning. I don’t deny that corruption did not play a role in it, but it was primarily due to wrong planning, the dams have been in poor state,” he added.
“To combat climate change, global warming, changing rain pattern, we need to create awareness among the farmers about crop pattern. Solapur is severely affected due to water sacracity, yet it has highest number of sugarcane factories, we need to address these issues,” Chavan added.
Heavily criticising Modi government over Ganga cleaning and river linking projects, Dr Singh said, “Modi government alloted Rs 20,000 crore for the cleaning, but not even 2 per cent of the amount has been used so far. On the contrary, when Chavan was a Union Minister, he had helped us to stop dam construction on rivers, which would have affected the Ganga plains.”