Explained: Jalyukta Shivar key for Maharashtra, but still has a long road ahead -Anjali Marar

-The Indian Express

Jalyukta Shivar is the flagship programme of the Maharashtra government launched in December 2014. It aims to make 5,000 villages free of water scarcity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his latest Mann ki Baat, emphasised on the need for dedicated efforts towards water conservation and launched ‘Jal Shakti, Jan Shakti’. Maharashtra has experienced drought four times in the last five years and the scarcity of water is set to increase manifold in the years to come. Launched in 2014, Jalyukta Shivar was promising but has the state government won the battle of water? Indian Express explains

* What is Jalyukta Shivar?

Jalyukta Shivar is the flagship programme of the Maharashtra government launched in December 2014. It aims to make 5,000 villages free of water scarcity. The scheme targeted drought-prone areas by improving water conservation measures in order to make them more water sustainable. The scheme envisaged to arrest maximum run-off water, especially during the monsoon months, in village areas known to receive less rainfall, annually. Under the scheme, decentralised water bodies were installed at various locations within villages to enhance the groundwater recharge. Besides, it also proposed to strengthen and rejuvenate water storage capacity and percolation of tanks and other sources of storage. Dedicated committees were formed to assist in construction of watersheds like farm ponds, cement nullah bunds alongside rejuvenating the existing water bodies in the villages.

* Why was the scheme introduced?

About 82 per cent area of Maharashtra falls is rainfed sector while 52 per cent of area is drought prone. This, when coupled with natural rainfall variability and long dry spells during the monsoons, severely hampers agriculture activities. Since 2014, hundreds of villages in Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidarbha have experienced droughts for consecutive years. For instance, when the scheme was launched in 2014, a total of 23,811 villages in 26 out of the total 36 districts were declared drought-hit. The scheme, thus, aimed at addressing these water issues mainly by building decentralised water bodies at local levels, that could aid in better groundwater recharge especially in areas where water scarcity was very high.

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The Indian Express, 14 July, 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/jalyukta-shivar-key-for-maharashtra-but-still-has-a-long-road-ahead/

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