Mumbai, 7 July-2014(PTI): In view of the predicted delayed/weak monsoon, the Maharashtra government has supplied drinking…
MUMBAI: Despite the fact that an experts panel had recommended in its report in 1999 that the setting up of more sugar factories in Marathwada should be disallowed, the state government gave permission for 20 private sugar factories in the region in 2012 — a drought year — and it is the excessive use of water for sugarcane that has added a crippling man-made element to the drought in the region at present.
While the government has now decided to disallow the setting up of further sugar factories in the Marathwada region, which has been worst hit by a successive drought year, the damage is already visible.
Sugarcane factories, in order to maximise gains from the cash crop, use an inordinate amount of water to increase production.
Pradeep Purandare, a water expert from Aurangabad who has served as a member on the Marathwada Statutory Development Board, told dna that the Chitale committee had recommended in 1999 that the government should not give permission to any new sugar factory in the Marathwada region. But not only did the government in 2012 give permission to the 20 private sugar factories, 15 more proposals are pending, according to information given by a local MLA, Purandare added.
He said that the time has come to ban sugarcane sowing in the region and the entire crisis at present is because of the unequal distribution of resources. He said that for the equitable distribution of water to be made possible, the use of water from the Godavari basis in Nashik and Ahmednagar should be extended to the Marathwada region and the government must ensure this as early as possible.
The state government has vowed to introduce the drip irrigation method for sugarcane farming. But despite it being during the tenure of former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan that an announcement was made about drip irrigation for sugarcane being introduced in the next three years, nothing much has happened.