Loknayak Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti, Janmanch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and the Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) conducted a survey of Turagondi dam project on 30th April only to find it in a shambles and the farmers in dire straits due to neglect. The next Shodh Yatra would be conducted to Lower Wardha project on 17th May 2015 to check the status of this project. Up to June 2012 while the canal work on forest land is supposed to be complete, the main canal is 80 % complete, distribution system 45% complete and the potential created is 17379 out of a total of 63333 ha. of the potential. Hence it is high time to get the updated status and therefore the decision by the organizations to see for themselves.
Vidarbha is among those areas of the world which has tremendous water potential, but, unfortunately, is still known for its dry land farming. It falls under the Godavari and Tapi Basins which have a water potential of 678 and 95 totaling respectively to 773 TMC of water. From this water source, over 35 Lac hectares of agricultural land can be brought under irrigation which can change the entire economy of this region.
Unfortunately, for the last several decades, the irrigation in Vidarbha has been deliberately sidelined, and owing to this, several farmers have committed suicide in this region.
Various forums have been voicing this issue for a long time and have been pressing the Government hard on this. When no action was taken, the Loknayak Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti’s member – Smt. Bharati Dabhalkar approached the Hon’ble High Court at Nagpur. VED Council was also an intervening party to this case. In reply to this petition, the Government of Maharashtra filed a reply by way of an affidavit on 20-12-2012, which gave information about the various ongoing projects in Vidarbha under Vidarbha Irrigation Development Council (VIDC). Out of the total projects 45 projects were granted final approval and the work on these irrigation projects is in process. 33 projects were granted in-principle approval and 53 projects were under consideration.
Out of the 45 projects which were granted final approval and work is in progress, the status of the projects was submitted which provided information such as the amount spent on the projects, percentage of work completed and the probable dates by which these projects would be completed. It is found that the information furnished by Government of Maharashtra was not appropriate and the deadlines which were given regarding completion of these projects have not been fulfilled.
At the same time, Janmanch also filed a petition in the the Hon’ble Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench, regarding the irregularities and corruption that have taken place in the irrigation projects in Vidarbha under VIDC. An ACB inquiry is also in progress due to this petition.
Loknayak Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti, Janmanch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and VED Council are holding a “Vidarbha Irrigation Shodh Yatra” from 30th April 2015 to address this issue. Members of all the three organizations will visit all these projects to bring the facts of these projects in front of the Government of Maharashtra, VIDC, Media and the people of Vidarbha. The Yatra will visit Lower Wardha Project and, thereafter, the Yatra would visit various other projects for which the dates would be declared as and when the Yatra is scheduled This Yatra will start on Sunday, 17th May 2015 at 7.30 am. from VED Council office, (Behind Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Statue), Mate Chowk, Nagpur to Lower Wardha Project site.
Vide this press release people interested in the development of Vidarbha are invited to join the Yatra for this cause. Everyone knows the hardships that the farmer goes through due to a lack of irrigation facilities and everyone knows of farmers’ suicides. This Shodh Yatra has now almost taken the shape of a Movement in support of farmers and should ideally be everyone’s responsibility to support such a cause. Hence, a call goes out to the citizen to join the Yatra and see for himself the situation as it is in the field.
Anyone interested in participating in the Yatra may contact the VED Council office on ph: 2240665 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org