Nagpur: The Maharashtra Water Conservation Minister Ram Shinde was on Thursday left red-faced when he came to know that Rs 293.43 crore of allocated funds for the ambitious Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan remained unspent. This disturbing fact forced the Minister to take a dig at Vidarbha people who leave no chance to complain about “backlog” in the region.
“The people of Vidarbha did not ensure that the funds were utilized fully as is being done successfully in other parts of the State. The Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan is a grand success and yielding positive results in other parts of the State. However, as much as Rs 293.43 crore of the allocated funds remained unspent in 2015-16 with Aurangabad Division topping list while Vidarbha region followed it in non-utilisation of funds. A total allocation of Rs 1,680 crore, the amount of Rs 293.43 crore remained unspent in the State due to a variety of reasons ranging from late release of funds to early rainfall posing problems in certain pockets in starting the works,” Shinde said.
Aurangabad Division topped the chart with Rs 145.59 crore remaining unspent in 2015-16, followed by Amravati Division with Rs 43.54 crore, Nagpur with Rs 42.99 crore, Pune Rs 32.87 crore, Nashik Rs 25.38 crore, and Konkan Division with Rs 3.06 crore remaining unspent. As the fund remained unspent for a variety of reasons, the Government has granted extension to utilisation. The Government has asked the administrative machinery to ensure that all the works proposed in 2015-16 and 2016-17 were completed and funds utilised, till March 2017. After that, there will not be any extension to utilization of funds for the year 2015-16.
Shinde said that Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan is a ‘dream project’ of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to rid the State of frequent droughts. He said that the Government felt the need to collect statistical data and assess the impact of Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan works on water availability with respect to agricultural production, productivity, wealth creation, and improvement in standard of living of especially farmers.