Severely hit by drought since the past few years, the Maharashtra government has outlined a Rs 60,000 crore programme which includes creating decentralised water storage to make the state drought free in three years.
"Maharashtra is reeling under severe drought crisis. We have outlined an investment of Rs 60,000 crore over the next three years to ensure that Maharashtra is drought free," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said at the 177th AGM of Bombay Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai late Thursday evening.
Chavan said that he has discussed the plan with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
"We have proposed that Rs 10,000 crore will be contributed by the state government and a budgetary provision to that effect will be made. We expect Rs 30,000 crore from the Centre, which can be raised through various sources, including international funding," he said.
During the crisis period, the government spent nearly Rs 5,000 crore for various reasons, including providing water through tankers, food for farmers and their wages, shades for cattle, among others.
"We spent Rs 5,000 crore, but it was non-productive expenditure. We created no capital assets. We cannot do anything to change the weather pattern. We can create decentralised water storage so that we don't need to worry whether it rains or not," Chavan said.
"Even if rains fail, we will not have such a crisis again. With this kind of investment, we will be able to achieve our goal to make Maharashtra drought free," he added.