Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sugar Farmers Divert Water in Maharashtra

Vast swathes of Maharashtra are parched with thirst as powerful politicians divert water for their own purposes. The state's second biggest dam Ujani, in Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's Lok Sabha constituency Madha, has been providing water for the area since its inception in 1980. But of its 117 TMC (thousand million cubic metre) of water, 60 TMC is being illegally diverted to sugarcane fields, creating acute water shortage in hundreds of villages in eight taluks-Madha, Pandharpur, Mohol, Mangalvedha, Malshiras, North Solapur, South Solapur, Akkalkot-of Solapur district.

'India Today' has access to a confidential report prepared by officials at the Ujani dam in January this year which explains how the water was to be divided. According to the report, Ujani's water supply is reserved for crops like chilli, jowar, bajra, groundnut, maize, sunflower, tur, wheat, gram and vegetables. However, 51 per cent of its supply goes to six lakh hectares of sugarcane fields spread across three districts. These districts have as many as 50 sugar factories, most of them run on a cooperative basis under which farmers are the biggest shareholders and Congress and Nationalist Congress Party politicians have controlling shares.

Dam officials have repeatedly pointed out to the Maharashtra Water Resources Department about sugarcane fields owned by Rajendra Tambele, a close aide of Sharad Pawar, on more than 100 acres of the dam land at Hingangaon. These get a disproportionate share of water.

On May 29, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan admitted in his presentation before Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that water-intensive cropping pattern (read sugarcane) is the reason behind the state's failure in achieving its irrigation targets. "Out of 358 taluks in the state, 148 are drought-prone," he said, while submitting the state's annual plan of Rs 55,000 crore for 2012-13.
Original Article Here

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...