Need more investment in irrigation even if other projects are hurt: Pawar

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday said there was a pressing need for increasing investment to increase irrigation capacity in the state even if it came at the expense of halting other development.

Speaking at the inauguration of an agricultural expo in the city, Pawar said, "While planning for the future we should keep water in mind. We will have to adopt a plan so that more dry lands are brought under irrigation. More funds should be invested for this even if it means halting development in other fields. It's okay if (new) roads are not built in Maharasthra but we need to do more for taking water to farmer's fields."

Pawar portrayed a grim picture of water availability in the state especially in Solapur, Nashik and districts in Marathwada region.

"It's for the first time that the Jaikwadi Dam has gone dry since its construction. Marathwada region is facing severe water shortage. Ujani dam, which is in my constituency, holds only 6 per cent water. This tells us that we need to use water with utmost care and efficiency. The farmers will have to start using drip irrigation system to save water," he said.

Pawar urged the agricultural universities to shift their focus from research to high yielding varieties crops that can withstand water stress conditions.

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