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Maharashtra firms up drip irrigation plan for cane cultivation

All factories will have to shift to drip irrigation from use of irrigated water

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

In a bid to tackle producers’ heavy reliance on monsoon and irrigated water, the government has firmed up a Rs 1,200-crore three-year plan.

is an irrigation method that saves water by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants.

in the state is spread over 1 million hectare (ha) of the total 17.3 million ha under crop cultivation, but consumes almost 70 per cent of water. There are 202 cooperative sugar factories and 68 private mills in the state.

‘’All sugar factories in the state will have to adopt in the next three years. Funding for the same will be possible from the state and the Central governments,’’ Chief Minister told Business Standard. He said would not only curb the use of irrigated water, but also promote the judicious use of water for cane

Chavan on Tuesday discussed at length the plan with the representatives of sugar factories.

An office-bearer of the Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories in Maharashtra, a representative body of over 170 units, said factories were quite keen to shift to ‘’We explain our stand with regard to getting government subsidy for the same in three years. We are quite hopeful the project will be a success as it will be another reform after the recent partial decontrol of the sugar sector,’’ he added.

According to a government official, sugar factories consume about 1.5-3 lakh litre water per day during the crushing season. According to recent estimates, water requirement from plantation to sugar production is 3,500 litre per kg. More importantly, nearly 17 per cent of water from the command area of irrigation project is consumed by alone, compared with two per cent by oil seeds and 4.5 per cent by pulses. “Therefore, the government’s proposal for is quite crucial as the irrigated water can be available for other crops,’’ the official noted.

Meanwhile, the government has revised the sugar output estimates for the crushing season 2013-14. Nearly 63 mt of cane will be available to produce 7.2 mt of sugar by the end of the ensuing crushing season. This was possible due to the satisfactory monsoon, especially in the growing areas of the state. Besides, there will be a carry-forward sugar stock of 2.3 mt.

First Published: Wed, September 04 2013. 00:38 IST