1,860 wells in DK, thanks to MGNREGS

At a time when the district reels under scarcity of water during summer, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has come in handy for the local bodies to support the creation of wells in the the gram panchayat limits in Dakshina Kannada.

According to the available statistics, a total of 1,761 individual wells and 99 public wells have been dug since April, 2008 till March 31, 2013. An action plan has been prepared for 6,087 individual wells and 277 public wells during 2013-14. A total of 721 individual wells and 19 public wells have been dug during the financial year.

Since the inception of MGNREGS, highest wells have been dug in Belthangady taluk with 669 individual wells and 25 public wells followed by Bantwal—580 individual and 17 public wells, Sullia—232 individual wells and 30 public wells. In the action plan of 2013-14, Belthangady taluk has prepared action plan for 2,233 individual wells and 73 public wells.

A total of 43 gram panchayats have not prepared any action plan for digging wells during 2013-14.

The wells are to be dug on lands of farmers or those who do not own, who belong to the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes; the category of small and marginal farmers and other groups approved under the scheme. Beneficiary-land owners should be job card holders and only registered workers could be employed.
In fact, it was Kashipattana Gram Panchayat which became a prime example as how government schemes can be used to create assets under MGNREGS, by digging wells.
The Panchayat and people realised that water scarcity was the biggest problem ailing them and went on accordingly to mitigate it. Till date they have dug over 200 wells since the scheme started being implemented in 2008-09.

Wherever, wells have been dug in large scale, about 20 to 30 per cent of water problem in their gram panchayats has been mitigated and panchayats have also saved in excess of power costs for water supply.

A beneficiary in Kashipattana said, “I own three acres of land. Water shortage plagued us every year after December. With the MGNREGS, the well has saved us from carrying water from far away places. The well has helped me to take up plantain farm.”

Usha from Balepuni said, “in the past, even by paying money, we could not get enough water. Now, without paying money, we have enough water.” She has motivated her neighbours Ambika and Suvasini to get a well dug under MGNREGS.

Duggappa Gowda and Padmanabha Kumbara in Ilanthila gram panchayats were depending on water supplied by the gram panchayat, for their daily needs. However, for the last few days they are no more depending on the pipe water. Instead, wells have been dug in their land which supplies enough water.

MGNREGS Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said, “the scheme has a big role in making beneficiaries self-reliant and carrying out works which are needed by the villages and also help in improving the living standard. It has made the lives of labourers self-reliant. By digging wells, dependence on borewells will come down, and will also improve ground water table.”

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