Pune, Aug 8 (PTI) Maharashtra will become a drought-free state and the issue of farm loan waiver will not arise if conservation of water, soil and forest is done properly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here today.

Fadanvis, along with Reliance Foundation’s Neeta Ambani, industrialist Rajiv Bajaj, actor Shah Rukh Khan and a galaxy of celebrities from Marathi as well as Hindi film industries, was in the city to distribute ‘Satyamev Jayate Water Cup awards.

While terming “revolutionary” the water conservation initiative of Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and his Paani Foundation, the chief minister said Water Cup has given a complete new dimension to the ‘jalyukt shivar’, the flagship water conservation scheme by the state government.

The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is essentially a competition between different villages to see who can do the maximum work for watershed management and water conservation in the period of the competition.

The competition period for the second edition of the Water Cup was April 8 to May 22, 2017.

“We have given a farm loan waiver because farmers were in trouble. However, if conservation of water, soil and forest is done properly, the state will be drought free and the issue of farm loan waiver will not arise,” Fadnavis said.

He also sought Shah Rukh Khan’s participation and support in the cause.

“This year 30 talukas took part in the competition. I would like to see 100 talukas taking part in the competition in the next edition and if we go by this speed, by 2019, we will be able to see ‘jalyukt’ Maharashtra,” the chief minister said.

The first prize (Rs 50 Lakh and a trophy) was given to Kakaddara village in Arvi tehsil of Vardha district. The second prize was shared by Bhosare village in Satara district and Jaybhayewadi village in Beed district. The joint winners of the third prize were Bidal and Palaskheda villages of Satara and Beed districts, respectively.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.