Aurangabad, Jan 16 (PTI) Through initiatives such as the Jalyukt Shivar water conservation scheme, the BJP-led Maharashtra government has made 16,000 villages free of water scarcity, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Wednesday. Also Read - Maharashtra CM to Decide on Imposition of Lockdown in State on Monday

He was speaking at an international conference on micro-irrigation here. Also Read - These States May go Under Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Spike | Full List

“Micro-irrigation facilities have increased three times in the state,” Fadnavis said at the event which was also attended by Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Fiji Agriculture Minister Mahendra Reddy and others. Also Read - Maharashtra Bracing For 15-day Complete Lockdown? Final Decision Likely Today

“Water is very precious and we still have not realised it….we don’t get regular rainfall and micro-irrigation is the only solution. Earlier, two countries would fight over water. Now such crises erupt between districts and even tehsils,” said Fadnavis.

“The government is working hard on the Jalyukt Shivar initiative and has made 16,000 villages water-neutral (free of water scarcity). Thirty-four lakh hectares of land is (has been brought) under irrigation. Micro-irrigation facilities have increased three times,” the chief minister claimed.

“Through the Nanaji Deshmukh Krushi Sanjivani project, we are working on providing sustainable irrigation in 4,000 villages,” Fadnavis added.

While the BJP-led state government has put a lot of stress on village-level water conservation projects, the state faced a poor monsoon in 2018, forcing it to declare drought in 151 tehsils in 26 out of the total 36 districts.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.