Nagpur:  Union minister Nitin Gadkari Friday said shortage of water is the main problem in Maharashtra, but the issue is being addressed by the state and central governments.

Both governments are doing a considerable amount of work to address this problem by increasing irrigation potential and stop farmer suicides in drought-prone areas, he said.

Gadkari was addressing the gathering at a joint meeting the BJP and the Shiv-Sena, who have stitched a pre- poll alliance in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections.

He said in a democracy, elections are an opportunity for the ruling dispensation to tell citizens about whether it has fulfilled the assurances made to them.

"The biggest problem of Maharashtra is its water problem. We had consistently fought on the issue of irrigation inside and outside the Vidhan Sabha,” said Gadkari. 

He went on to say, “I feel happy to say that the irrigation potential of Maharashtra has increased from 18-20% to 48-50% due to the efforts of the Fadnavis government.”

Speaking about irrigation projects Gadkari said that in Maharashtra, the "real memorial" of the Congress- NCP is the irrigation projects which have become defunct.

"These projects were pending for the last 20 years due to corruption," added Gadkari.

He said around 26 half completed irrigation projects in Maharashtra have been taken up for completion under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana.

Similarly, Rs 20,000 crore funds were given to Maharashtra for irrigation projects, the Union minister said.

Besides, 108 projects in drought-affected areas were given funds by the Union water resources ministry, the BJP leader said.

"Similarly, works worth around Rs 1 lakh crore will be initiated after the model code of conduct ends to improve water capacity in Maharashtra, he said.

Whatever has been done in the last five for irrigation and water conservation was not achieved in Maharashtra in the last 25 years, said Gadkari.

"There will development of the country, protection of the country and social justice and economic equality as said by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar," said Gadkari.

About Congress, Gadkari said that the party is spreading "lies" on the issues of casteism and communalism as it cannot debate with the BJP on development.

(With inputs from PTI)