The country's first-ever 'water-grid' costing Rs 3,50,000 crore will come in the parched Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the next five years as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Saturday.
"The Marathwada region will benefit in a big way from this as it will increase water availability for the people. It will free women from the hassles of having to toil hard to fetch water," Modi said.
To be implemented over the next five years, he said the JJM involves saving water and delivering it to the people's doorsteps to resolve their water problems.
Recalling Ram Manohar Lohia's words that "toilet and water are the two biggest problems confronting Indian women", Modi added that when these twin issue is resolved, women can lead the country.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis explained that the government plans to bring 168 tmc water to the River Godavari basin and then, through the water-grid, will connect all the dams and distribute it through pipelines to the people.
Earlier, the state government cleared a Rs 4,802 crore water-grid project for Beed district and is working on a Rs 15,000 crore water-grid project for the region, along with the ongoing Jal Yukt Shivar Abhiyan.
The Marathwada region - encompassing Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Osmanabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani and Hingoli - has been the perpetual dry bowl of the state with regular droughts and water shortages, stunting its development and progress, said a state government official.
Earlier, Modi dedicated to the nation the state-of-the-art Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC) Shendra Project, India's first 'Walk-to-Work' Smart City, which targets an investment of Rs 600-Rs 700 billion from global investors.
The concept of the hi-tech AURIC city encompasses housing schemes, workplaces, shopping plazas to be developed in each other's vicinity including walkable streets, blocks and reachable public spaces.
"In the new age digital era ecosystem, the requirement of business and industries rapidly evolve and such businesses and industries which frame their value proposition on the newer aspects of intelligence and related smart technologies, it makes sense to provide them a comprehensive ecosystem that itself is smart in nature," Modi said.
He said the AURIC City in Aurangabad has not only shown the country but the entire world how such ecosystem can work for the overall benefit of all stakeholders involved.
Keeping in view one of the core focus areas of AURIC, which is technology-driven solutions, Modi also launched systems like Chat-Bot feature with Investor Management System and E-Land Management, which would cater to the needs and queries of investors, businesses and citizens in a 'smart' way, with further technological advancements in the pipeline.
Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai said that besides attracting an investment of around Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 crore, it will also help generate employment for lakhs of people in the region.
Already having attracted investments of around Rs 36 billion last year from investors, the value of output is expected to be exports worth USD 11.6 billion and industrial output of USD 46.2 billion at AURIC.
AURIC has allotted around 50 plots of 5,25,000 sq mt, infrastructure packages of Rs 79.47 billion to offer high-value, sustainable infrastructure to support long-term economic vitality, high quality of life and a knowledge-based ecosystem with breakthrough in innovation and efficiency, he said.
Prominent investors include Hyosung Corporation, Perkins, Caterpillar Group, with more companies from USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and others showing interest here.
The AURIC vicinity already has Skoda, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, Perkins, Liebherr, Crompton & Greaves, Bajaj, Lupin, Endress+Hauser and Wockhardt among others.
The AURIC will showcase Smart Governance features like the specially-developed E-LMS (learning management system) which makes land allotment simpler and efficient, fully digital and paperless transactions, besides other features.