NITI Aayog meet: Sawant pushes for rainwater harvesting

NITI Aayog meet: Sawant pushes for rainwater harvesting

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant takes charge at his office, in Panaji, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (PTI File Photo)

In his first presentation before the NITI Aayog, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said rainwater harvesting and conservation were his government's key thrust areas.

Sawant on Saturday attended the NITI Aayog's meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

He spoke about the Goa BJP-led government's "commitment towards water conservation by increasing the number of check dams and through other rainwater harvesting measures," the chief minister said in a statement issued here.

He also called for resolution of the Mahadayi river water dispute in the interest of the state, the release said.

Karnataka and Goa, the riparian states of Mahadayi (known as Mandovi in Goa), have been locked in a bitter battle over the sharing of water of the river, which originates at Belagavi in Karnataka.

This was Sawant's first presentation before the government's policy think-tank after he took charge of Goa's top post in March this year following the death of the chief minister Manohar Parrikar.

Last week, Sawant announced that the state will construct several check dams within a year and also use abandoned mining pits for rainwater harvesting.

After the NITI Ayog meeting, the government think- tank's official Twitter handle said, "Rainwater harvesting is a major focus area in Goa. The state has focused on the blue revolution and is in the process of formulating a community farming policy."

At the meeting, Sawant also stressed the need for an early resumption of the state's mining operations, a key source of revenue to the government, which came to a standstill in March last year following a Supreme Court order which quashed 88 mining leases.

The BJP-led state government earlier requested the Centre to amend the existing mining laws so that the leases get extended.

Sawant also emphasised the need for timely completion of the Mopa international airport in North Goa district.

The Supreme Court earlier this year suspended the environmental clearance granted to the greenfield airport at Mopa and directed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) to revisit the decision in view of its impact on ecology.

Following the court order, the project is likely to miss its deadline for completion of the first phase by 2020, a state government official earlier said.

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