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Prevent Drought in Maharashtra?

Can Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan

Despite intensive implementation of the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, many districts of Maharashtra are reeling under severe drought. This raises questions over the usefulness of the JSA in drought-proofing, especially in the way it is being implemented.

“Water for all—drought-free Maharashtra 2019” reads the title of the government resolution of the flagship programme Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan (JSA), started in 2015, the year Maharashtra was facing yet another drought after a severe one in 2012–13. In 2015–16, 138 talukas were declared as drought-affected. Since the inception of the JSA to date, 2,54,000 water and soil conservation projects have been implemented in 16,522 villages in the state spending ₹ 7,692 crore. The JSA claims to have created 24,000 million cubic feet of water storage (Jitendra 2019). JSA works have also been implemented through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds, non-profit organisations and through competitions such as the Water Cup organised by Paani Foundation in order to create mass awareness about drought mitigation through people’s participation and work. So, why is it that more than 151 talukas were declared drought-hit in 2018–19 after five years of intensive drought mitigation efforts through the JSA?

Water scarcity is rising alarmingly in the state, especially in Marathwada. The government’s own data, as reported in the media, shows, to date, that about 4,920 villages and 10,506 hamlets are now completely dependent on water tankers for drinking water. Just within a week’s time, from 20 May to 27 May, the count of the number of parched villages went up from 4,615 to 4,920. Currently, there are 6,209 tankers deployed crossing the record of 6,000 tankers in 2016 (Ashar 2019). Chinchondi village in Pathardi taluka of Ahmednagar district is one such example where the JSA has been intensively implemented and it also won the second prize under the Water Cup competition in 2016. Yet this year the people of this village are spending ₹ 6,600 per day for a supply of 30,000 litres of water. Why is it that even after creating 24,000 million cubic feet of storage, drinking water for the people cannot be assured?

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Updated On : 21st Jun, 2019

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