After Worst Year In Marathwada, Government Plans Israeli Irrigation System

"A desert, Israel has been the ideal example for farming on per drop more crop concept. We are going to adopt that concept in Marathwada," said Pankaja Munde.

Mumbai: This has been the worst year for the farmers in Maharashtra's Marathwada region - where 1,109 farmers have committed suicide over the last 12 months.

In December, 112 farmers committed suicide. Over the year, Beed district fared the worst, with 299 suicides. Nanded reported the second highest figure -- 187.

The state's rural development minister Pankaja Munde, who called 2015 the "worst year in a decade" for Marathwada in terms of rainfall, said the government was considering the adoption of a method of irrigation that has been paying rich dividends in Israel.

"A desert, Israel has been the ideal example for farming on per drop more crop concept. So, we are going to adopt that concept in Marathwada," said Ms Munde. The whole pattern of crops, the whole pattern of irrigation has to change in Marathwada and Vidharbha totally, she said.

"We are working on "Jalyuktashivar" under which we are doing water conservation. The next step would be using this water in a particular way like drip irrigation," added Ms Munde, who also handles the water conservation portfolio.

The Congress has attacked the state government for not doing enough.

"Every time we come up with different ideas and different statements from various ministers," said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant. "Now there is one more idea that has come from a very high profile minister. She talks about Israel pattern, saying that would be the solution though her own district is reporting the highest number of suicides."

Taking a dig at the ruling BJP, Mr Sawant said the official demand for Rs 4000 crore as a relief package has been refused by the central government. "I really believe they do not have any say in the central government, although the BJP is in power at Centre as well," he said.

Reacting to the Congress jibe, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted: