A large part of Maharashtra has been declared drought-hit. But distribution of water is quite incongruous. While the few who are politically and financially powerful take the lion’s share for sugarcane crops, thermal plants and other industries, the rest are struggling to survive.

Read More: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/drought-equity

It is not just about large-scale financial and political irregularities. Maharashtra’s irrigation scam has put a question mark on the validity of the state’s high-cost irrigation policy itself. Under this policy very little irrigated area has been created in the state despite hundreds of dams being constructed and thousands of crores of rupees being invested.

Read More: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/reservoir-corruption

Farmers accuse power company of registering bogus speakers, question timing of public hearing with sowing season. The fresh public hearing for Lanco Infratech Limited’s 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant in Mandwa village of Maharashtra’s Wardha district was marked by utter chaos.The hearing, held under heavy police bandobast, started with drama. The first 50 speakers–residents of affected villages, Mandwa, Belgaon and Pullali—praised Lanco for its corporate social responsibility. They also expressed their support for the upcoming plant.

When Vijay Ingle of Chittalwadi village in Akola district decided to install a biogas plant at his dairy last year, everyone was sceptical. It had failed to take off in the Vidarbha region despite the government promoting biogas as the cleanest and cheapest fuel for over three decades and offering subsidies for setting up the plant. Besides, no one had heard of a biogas plant installed 400 metres from the house; it is usually set up in the backyard, close to the kitchen.

Cost escalation made Maharashtra's power generation company reconsider present site in Dhule district. The Sakri solar power plant in Maharashtra's Dhule district is touted as the world's largest solar power plant till date. Sometime ago there was a proposal to shift the plant to Chandrapur district in Vidarbha region following dispute over the land where the project will be developed. The move triggered protests in the tribal district where people see the 125 MW project as a lifeline that would usher in industrialisation and employment.

About 30,000 farmers in Maharashtra are feeling cheated. The soybean seeds they had purchased from the state seed corporation, Mahabeej, failed to germinate this season. About 40,000 hectares (ha) of farms in seven districts have been affected. Mahabeej has 45 per cent share in the soy seed business in the state.

Gadchiroli in Maharashtra may have acquired the model district status for clearing a record number of community forest rights (CFR) claims, but its 298 villages are angry with the forest department for stripping them of the basic right to manage forest produce.

In April this year, Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra made history. One of its villages became the country’s first to win the right to sell and harvest bamboo. Down To Earth reports how India's largest paper manufacturing company Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT) is using most of the bamboo in Maharashtra, leaving little for residents.

It was once associated with the rich and urban. Today, hypertension is fast spreading in rural India. This is a cause for concern because hypertension, if not checked, can lead to heart and kidney diseases. Healthcare facilities are already poor in villages, where nearly three-fourths of Indians live.

Despite closure notices several industrial units are operating in Mahad tehsil of Raigad district, polluting a river and wells. As a result fishing and farming in the region have been badly affected. 5,000 fisher families have lost their means of living due to pollution in the Savitri river.