RTI reveals diversion of agricultural water to industries
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that large amount of water has been being diverted from agriculture to industries in Maharashtra since 2003.
The reply said that around 2,000 million cusec water has been diverted to the industries despite the fact that the centre’s water policy gives priority to agriculture over industries. The information provided in the reply suggests that from 40 per cent to 80 per cent water of 51 dams in the state was diverted for industrial usage.
The reply also stated that the diversion was carried out between 2003 and 2011 on the recommendation of a high powered committee headed by Mr. Ajit Pawar, who was either water resources minister or finance minister during the period.
It is speculated that the diversion, which happened without taking affected people in confidence as mandated by a state government act, caused irrigation potential of Maharashtra to decline by nearly 4 lakh hectares and potentially leading to one of the worst droughts in Maharashtra.