Gadkari's water grid nudge to Maharashtra shows the way for Andhra Pradesh
- Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari asks Maharashtra govt to prepare a DPR for formation of State Water Grid to solve the problem of recurrent flood crises
- If the plan is followed by AP, it will not only pave the way for flood-free environment but also a drought-free one
New Delhi: Union minister for road transport, highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari has requested the Maharashtra government to take initiative for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for formation of the State Water Grid to overcome the recurring flood crises in the state. This would help the government to ensure the availability of the water in drought-prone areas and save the resources to manage the flood crisis.
However, the direction by the Union minister could be an eye opener to other states too, including Andhra Pradesh, which is nowadays witnessing devastating floods and rains. Experts at the Union water resources department (Jal Shakti) are of the opinion that the suggestion could pave the way for not only flood-free environment but also a drought-free one.
Gadkari has drawn the attention of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to the serious issue of heavy loss of lives and property that occur in the state every year due to floods. He added that the floods create and trigger serious problems in different parts of the state and there is an urgent need to chalk out a plan to manage this natural disaster that becomes grave because of other man-made factors.
The Union minister has suggested to Maharashtra to take up the ambitious project of formation of the State Water Grid on the lines of the National Power Grid and Highway Grid. Andhra Pradesh has already planned Krishna-Godavari link but no one knows when this would be realised. But Gadkari suggests that this should be taken up as an essential and emergency infrastructure project not as a project for the future alone. .
Gadkari's suggestion also includes doing water conservation by using the soil/murum from water bodies, drains and rivers for construction of highways. This synchronisation of national highway . construction and water conservation results not only in increasing water storage capacity but saving the environment. Initially, this activity was done on large scale in Buldhana district in Maharashtra as a pilot project and hence named as 'Buldhana pattern'.
With this activity, around 225 lakh cubic metre of material from water bodies, drains and rivers has been used in highway works with a result of increase of 22500 TCM (Thousand Cubic Metre) of water storage capacity at 'No cost to state government'. This has charged ground water table too. Due to deepening and training of rivers, drains, etc., the floods have reduced, which otherwise spread in nearby fields due to reduced discharge capacity of rivers and drains.
Hundreds of kilometre new national highway projects have been announced by the Centre for Andhra Pradesh. "It is always possible to use the pattern suggested by Gadkari to develop AP," say expert. It is to be seen whether the state authorities look into it or not.