Parbhani: After spending almost Rs 70,000 crore, the government's irrigation plan for Maharashtra seems to reaped no results. CNN-IBN's Smitha Nair travelled to the Nimna Dhudhna irrigation project site set up in 1979, which is still incomplete despite a 50 time cost jump.
Much like leaking pipelines in water-scarce Marathwada, the story of the Nimna Dhudhna irrigation project, too, is one of criminal waste. Started in 1979 at the cost of Rs 28 crore, 34 years on the project remains incomplete. By 2009, the project cost estimates escalated to a whopping Rs 1,350 crore.
Suresh Gawli of the Shetkari Sanghatana said, "People lost homes but no work was done, everybody from the engineer, district authorities to those sitting in Mumbai, meanwhile, lined their pockets."
Authorities here now claim that the project will be completed in 2015, but by then it would've cost an estimated Rs 1,800 crore. At the end of it all the fear remains that like other projects in the state, the Nimna Dudhana, too, would fail to meet its irrigation potential."
Meant to irrigate 53,000 acres of land in Parbhani and Jalna among the intended beneficiaries are the 22 villages rehabilitated from the submergence zone. Today, half a kilometre away from the Nimna Dudhna, they are struggling to find water, their crops lay singed by the scorching sun.
Sheikh Pasha of Ekrukha village said, "They took our land and now I live in a tin shed. I didn't get the promised water, I have electricity, so many of our families were displaced." Gopal Maruti Kakdi, a farmer of Rohena village, said, "Why am I angry you ask? I can see the water from here, they took away a large part of my land and now my crops are gone. They don't even allow me to use the water, they threw my pumps away." This is where the shocking Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam translates into the aam aadmi's rage.