Step up water conservation efforts: Modi

Step up water conservation efforts: Modi

With 11 states reeling under severe drought, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong pitch for conservation of water during the upcoming monsoon season.

In separate meetings with chief ministers of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, Modi asked the state governments to give maximum attention to de-silting of farm tanks and check dams, and harvesting rain water.

Modi had a message for the sugarcane growing regions in the 3 states – adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation techniques for the crop. “Drip irrigation in sugarcane increases the quality of sugar,” Modi said.

The meetings with the 3 chief ministers was part of the prime minister’s initiative to meet chief ministers of 11 drought-hit states before announcing long term measures for drought proofing.

Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra and large parts of north Karnataka are reeling under severe drought and facing acute shortage of water.

Modi appreciated the efforts taken by the Karnataka government in waste water management in cities and wanted it to be replicated in a big way in towns as well.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah submitted a memorandum for central assistance to the tune of Rs 12,272 crore for construction of check dams, rejuvenation of tanks, completion of water supply schemes and micro irrigation projects.

“I am happy that the prime minister called such a meeting for the first time,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis said the prime minister’s thrust was on short-term plans for the next 6 weeks to carry out pre-monsoon works and benefit from the good monsoon that has been forecast by the weather office.

He said Maharashtra would also submit a supplementary memorandum to the Centre seeking aid for 11,000 more villages that have become drought-hit after the state had received assistance to tackle the situation.

The prime minister also wanted the states to draw out long-term plans to ensure moisture security for farmers and reduce their dependence on monsoon.

Uttar Pradesh has sought Rs 11,000 crore while Maharashtra has demanded Rs 9,500 crore as immediate central assistance to tackle the drought situation in the their respective states.

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