new Delhi. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has suggested starting an ambitious project of water grid in the state on the lines of National Electrification Grid and Highway Grid for a permanent solution to deal with the flood crisis in Maharashtra. The aim is to divert the waters of the flood-affected areas to the drought-prone areas of the state.
Union Minister Gadkari has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting the Maharashtra government to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the construction of the grid. Gadkari believes that this effort will be helpful for the government in ensuring availability of water in drought affected areas. Also, the resource used to deal with the flood crisis will be saved.
In a letter to Chief Minister Thackeray and his cabinet colleagues and Member of Parliament Sharad Pawar on October 14, Gadkari has requested the state government to take a quick decision on the matter so that implementation on it can begin as soon as possible.
The Union Minister in his letter has attracted the attention of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the serious issue of loss of life and property on a large scale in flood related incidents in Maharashtra every year. In his letter, he has written that various studies show that in cases where more than 55 percent of the areas fall under irrigation, there has been a decrease in cases of suicide.
The Union Minister said that this system will increase agricultural production and strengthen the rural and national economy. Diversion of excess water will reduce pressure on local resources. In the near future, an alternative to water transport through rivers can be developed which will be an alternative route for movement of passengers and goods. He wrote that if such projects are developed as a priority then fisheries as well as other businesses can develop and generate large scale employment.
Gadkari said that his ministry is also ensuring water conservation by removing soil and sand from reservoirs, drains and rivers for construction of highways. This synergy between construction of national highways and water conservation will not only increase water storage capacity but will also protect the environment.