Marathwada facing man-made drought, says expert

Last Updated 08 November 2018, 07:44 IST

The Marathwada region is not facing meteorological drought but hydrological drought because poor governance and public policies, says veteran economist Prof HM Desarda.

The rainfall has not been very bad in Marathwada comprising the eight districts — Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani.

Desarda, who is a former member of Maharashtra State Planning Board, said that the Marathwada region on an average gets 700 mm rainfall whereas this monsoon the rainfall recorded was 450 to 550 mm. "You cannot call this bad," he added.

"We have to understand that this is not a meteorological drought but a hydrological drought because of failure of government and public policy," said Prof Desarda, a visiting professor at the Pune-based Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.

"What Maharashtra is seeing is because of successive governments, but this government has not been able to manage the situation....the poor monsoon argument is a bluff," he told DH over the phone from Aurangabad.

The dams are drying up day by day but for the Jayakwadi Dam on the Godavari river in Paithan tehsil of Aurangabad district.

He also said that JalYukt Shivar Abhiyan, the flagship project of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has not shown desired results in Marathwada region.

Besides, the claim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that because of JalYukt Shivar Abhiyan, over 16,000 villages have become drought-free does not reflect on the ground.

Desarda said the depletion of groundwater has been dramatic in the region.

"Sugar factories guzzle the water," he said, adding that in Marathwada, two lakh hectares are under sugarcane farming. Besides, over decades, the crop pattern has been changed in the region.

(Published 26 October 2018, 13:04 IST)

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