NEW DELHI: Today, Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport, Highways, and MSMEs urged the Maharashtra Government for the preparation of detailed project reports (DPR) for the formation of the State Water Grid. The Minister has requested for this initiative to overcome the recurring flood crisis in the State. The project would also ensure the availability of water in drought-prone areas and save the resources to manage the flood crisis.

A few days back, Gadkari wrote a letter to Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray, his cabinet colleagues, and Sharad Pawar on this issue. In his letter, Gadkari highlighted the damage and destruction caused to property and livelihood due to floods in Maharashtra. “Mumbai floods trigger serious problems all over the State. There is an urgent need to chalk out a plan to manage this natural disaster,” stated Gadkari.

The Minister has suggested to the Government of Maharashtra to take up the ambitious project of formation of the State Water Grid on the lines of the National Power Grid and Highway Grid. “The idea is to divert the floodwater from one river basin to the other river basin in the drought-prone area of the state,” he added. The Grid is said to supply water to areas having a shortage of water. This would increase irrigation and reduce the number of suicides committed by the farmers. He further mentioned that as per various studies it has been shown that the incidents of the farmers’ suicide have come down in the areas where the irrigation cover is more than 55%.

The project would also help to increase agriculture produce and strengthen the rural and national economy. “The diverted floodwaters would relieve the stress on the local resources,” said Gadkari. Several businesses such as transportation of goods and passengers through rivers, fishing, and other businesses will flourish in the mere future. This would result in major employment generation.

Gadkari further stated that his Ministry had undertaken water conservation by using the soil from water bodies, drains and rivers for construction of Highways.” This synchronization of N.H. construction and water conservation results not only in increasing water storage capacity but saving the environment,” he added. Around 225 lakh cubic meter of material from water bodies, drains, and rivers have been used in Highway works with a result of an increase of 22500 TCM (Thousand Cubic Meter) of water storage capacity at ‘No cost to State Government’.

The Minister further informed that the Tamaswada Pattern adopted in Wardha and Nagpur districts is another effort towards Rain Water Harvesting, Conservation, and Ground Water Recharge. Reportedly, the work is done based on Scientific and Complete Development of Mini-Micro Watersheds based on the study of HydroGeology, Topography, and Civil Engineering.

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