Development works like watershed programmes got affected in Maharashtra over years due to the divisions created through political affinity, caste and religion in villages, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said here today.
He lamented that the watershed work fell prey to petty politics.
Raising concerns over "failure" of watershed programmes in Maharashtra, Thackeray questioned the allocation of funds to the sector between 1960 and 2018.
The chief minister said the divisions created along the lines of castes and religion had affected the watershed works at the village level.
"Years ago, we had given a slogan 'pani adva, pani jirva' (water conservation), but all these years, divisions were created through small groups, political parties, castes and religions..Due to this division, we forgot the watershed movement and got ourselves busy in settling the scores against each other," he said.
Fadnavis appreciated the 'Paani Foundation' for its work.
"The Paani Foundation realised that villages cannot be made water-sufficient unless all the castes and communities are united," he said.
Fadnavis said the government alone cannot run watershed programmes. "People's movement is the key to success for such works," he added.
"Paani Foundation works in 75 talukas in Maharashtra, which is the example of how a peoples' movement can bring about the change and make the villages water-sufficient," he said.
He said water has to be used judiciously, or else drought is inevitable.
Paani Foundation conducts a competition called the 'Satyamev Jayate Water Cup', in which villages compete to win prizes for the best watershed management work.
Political leaders cutting across the party lines attended the award distribution ceremony.
Besides Khan and Paani Foundation CEO Satyajit Bhatkal, state unit Congress chief Ashok Chavan, Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, state ministers Ram Shinde and Vijay Shivtare were present at the occasion.
In its third edition, the Water Cup 2018 saw participation of 75 talukas where capacity to store 22,269 crore litre of water was stored through rainwater harvesting works done over a period of 45 days.
Ajit Pawar said the foundation has successfully increased the water table level in villages.
He said emphasis should be given to the correct crop pattern keeping the availability of water in mind.
Pawar, nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, advised Khan not to share any political dais.
Bhandwali and Sindkhed villages in Satara and Buldhana districts jointly won the second prize of Rs 50 lakh and a trophy.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)