Through the ages, Indian agriculture has been sustained by natural and man-made water bodies such as lakes, tanks, ponds and similar structures. It has been estimated that there are about five lakh water bodies/tanks used for irrigation. Many of them have fallen into disuse and are in urgent need of repairs. These water bodies have been an important source of minor irrigation in the country under which even today two-thirds of irrigated agriculture is covered in our country. Such Minor irrigation schemes generally suffer from problem of loss of storage due to silting of the tanks, poor maintenance and management, encroachment, etc. Damage to various structures, inadequate surplussing arrangements and silting are some of the reasons for deteriorating conditions in the irrigation system. It is necessary to restore the storage capacity of water bodies with the purpose of recovering their lost irrigation potential.
The scheme "National Project for Repair, Renovation and Restoration of Water Bodies directly linked to Agriculture" has been prepared to take up pilot projects in states for implementation by the State Governments for which funds will be released to state. The pilot scheme envisages a Plan Outlay of Rs. 300 crore to be shared by the Centre and State in the ratio of 3:1.
This is a pilot scheme for repair, renovation and restoration of water bodies directly linked to agriculture, taken up for implementation during the last two years of the Xth Plan. The objectives of the scheme are:
- To restore and augment storage capacities of water bodies, and
- Recover and extend their lost irrigation potential.
Once the pilot scheme is completed and validated, it will form the basis for launching of the "National Water Resources Development Project" at much larger scale and spread to be completed in 7 to 10 years.
The Ministry of Water Resources has approved 24 district projects in 14 States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Gujarat, Kerala and Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs. 299.7925 crore and Central share of Rs. 99.2978 crore has been released to the states till date. These projects cover 1116 water bodies with total irrigation progress in all the states. Work in respect of 48 water bodies in Ganjam and Gajapati districts of Orissa are confirmed to have been completed by the State at the end of May 2006.
Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 26-03-2009