Micro irrigation projects worth Rs 766 cr get nod

Micro irrigation projects, worth around Rs 766 crore, are set to get underway in Hungund taluk of Bagalkot district. These would provide irrigation facility to nearly 24,000 hactares.

The Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited board recently gave approval for the projects to be commissioned. This is the first time such a massive scale micro irrigation scheme (drip irrigation) is being taken up by the government. These works are being taken up under the II stage of Ramthal (Marol) Lift Irrigation Scheme.

The two private players executing the projects are — Jain Irrigation Systems Limited (JISL) and Israel-based Netafim India Pvt Ltd. While JISL will irrigate 12,300 ha, Netafim would help cultivate 11,700 ha. Combinedly, KBJNL will be spending Rs 766 crore to help farmers in optimising the available water for agricultural activities.

KBJNL Managing Director Kapil Mohan said “Many farmers have individually adopted micro irrigation system. But for the first time, the same has been taken up on a massive scale at a single go, by the government itself. The executing agencies were selected through national bidding.”

Regarding the cost factor, he said compared to conventional system of irrigation, cost under micro irrigation system would be 20 to 22 per cent higher. But, cost of water too must be factored, since its usage would be reduced by 50 per cent under the new system.

In dry land, saving water is crucial. There will be savings of 1.34 tmc ft of water under drip irrigation with pipeline network and which would eventually help in bringing additional 11,429 ha of command area. KBJNL has set aside Rs 250 cr for the projects in the current fiscal, he added. He said higher water use efficiency, higher crop productivity and minimising land acquisition would encourage farmers to adopt the new system.

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