Union Minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday said the shortage of water is the main problem in Maharashtra, but the issue is being addressed by the state and Central governments.
While addressing a joint meeting of BJP and Shiv-Sena, Gadkari said, both governments are doing a considerable amount of work to address this problem by increasing irrigation potential and stop farmer suicides in drought-prone areas.
'BJP-Sena alliance under leadership of Fadnavis has done wonderful job'
The BJP and the Shiv Sena have stitched a pre-poll alliance in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections.
Gadkari said in a democracy, the elections are an opportunity for the ruling dispensation to tell citizens whether it has fulfilled the assurances made to them.
"The BJP-Sena alliance under the leadership of CM Devendra Fadnavis has done a wonderful job in Maharashtra," he said.
Irrigation potential of Maharashtra increased up to 48-50%: Gadkari
The union minister pointed out that the biggest issue of Maharashtra is its water problem.
"We had consistently fought on the issue of irrigation inside and outside the Vidhan Sabha," he said.
"I feel happy to tell that the irrigation potential of Maharashtra has increased from 18-20% to 48-50% due to the efforts of the Fadnavis government," he further said.
Congress-NCP's irrigation projects were pending for last 20 years: Gadkari
In Maharashtra, the "real memorial" of the Congress-NCP is the irrigation projects, which have become defunct, said the union minister.
"These projects were pending for the last 20 years due to corruption," said Gadkari.
He said around 26 half-completed irrigation projects in Maharashtra have been taken up for completion under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, launched on July 1, 2015.
108 projects in drought-affected areas were funded by MOWR: Gadkari
Similarly, Rs. 20,000 crore funds were given to Maharashtra for irrigation projects, the Union minister said.
Besides this, 108 projects in drought-affected areas were given funds by the Union water resources ministry (MOWR), the BJP leader said.
"Also, works worth around Rs. 1 lakh crore will be initiated after the model code of conduct ends to improve water capacity in Maharashtra," he said.
'Maharashtra government awarded recently for outstanding work in water conservation'
Speaking on the irrigation projects in the state, Gadkari said, "The Maharashtra government recently got an award for outstanding work in water conservation in the entire country." He further said that water remains the most important issue in the state.
There'll be development, protection, social justice and economic equality: Gadkari
Whatever has been done in the last five years for irrigation and water conservation was not achieved in Maharashtra in the last 25 years, said Gadkari.
"There will development of the country, protection of the country and social justice and economic equality as said by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar," he further said.
The union minister also took a swipe at the Congress over development issue.
'Congress spreading lies on issues of casteism and communalism'
Gadkari said the Congress is spreading "lies" on the issues of casteism and communalism as it cannot debate with the BJP on development.
The BJP leader shared a question posed to him by electronic media Thursday - why NCP chief Sharad Pawar decided not to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
"He knows this time it won't be possible," said Gadkari.
'People are ready to help us irrespective of caste, religion'
"He (Sharad Pawar) may have realized that he could not win this time and hence he withdrew," said the BJP leader.
"Hence, our work has become so popular that people are ready to help us irrespective of caste, religion or language. We should take benefit of this opportunity and try to win all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Vidarbha," opined Gadkari.