| State plans body for drought-hit
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Mumbai: The drought-hit talukas may soon have a separate statutory
development board. Announcing the plans for the creation of a separate
board, the Democratic Front coalition said on Tuesday that the board
will be exclusively for the 148 drought-hit talukas, most of which
are in western Maharashtra.
The government is in favour of setting up the new board where the
criteria for fund allocation will be based on the irrigation backlog
at the taluka level, finance Minister Jayant Patil said.
In 2001, then state governor P C Alexander had issued a directive
laying down guidelines for equitable allocation of funds to remove
the backlog in the undeveloped regions. Alexander had said in his
report that the bulk of the funds in the irrigation sector had been
spent on projects in the Krishna Valley belt in western Maharashtra
while the rest of the state was starved of funds and had revised the
allocation whereby majority of the funds would go to the undeveloped
regions of Vidarbha, Marathwada and Konkan.
However, powerful politicians from western Maharashtra sought to reverse
the directive and corner maximum funds for irrigation projects in
Former minister and NCP MLA Shalinitai Patil, who raised the issue
in the state legislative assembly on Tuesday and demanded the creation
of a separate board, pointed out that the acute water scarcity had
led to large-scale migration to urban centres.
Later, in his reply to the two-hour long debate, Jayant Patil said
that setting up of a new statutory corporation could only be taken
up if the legislature unanimously supported Shalinitai Patilís proposal.