Krishi Bhagya: 540 applications for farm ponds in DK

With the state government rolling out Krishi Bhagya in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Malnad from this year, the Department of Agriculture has already received 540 applications seeking assistance for farm ponds in Dakshina Kannada.

The target in the district was 700 farm ponds. The farmers can submit applications till March 2018 for the construction of farm ponds, according to Agriculture Department officials.

Till last year, the Krishi Bhagya was being implemented in five agro-climatic zones that receive an average rainfall between 450 mm and 850 mm. The aim is to supply water for sustainable agriculture. The scheme encourages farmers to adopt modern technology and to take up appropriate crop pattern systems to increase agriculture yield.

Speaking to DH, Agriculture Department joint director Kempe Gowda said the work on farm ponds will be accelerated from this month. "The farm ponds can be dug either using a machine or by labourers. The farmers can submit applications to the Raitha Samparka Kendra. In case of any shortfall in the grant, the department will write to the state government seeking additional grant. We have also written to the state government seeking permission to allow construction of farm ponds in less than 1-acre land in the district," said the officer.

"Farm ponds are also dug under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), for which the funds are released by the Horticulture Department instead of the Agriculture Department. Farmers with a minimum of one-acre land can avail of the benefit, while the ponds can be built from a minimum of 10 metre to a maximum of 21 metre, depending on the extent of land," he explained.

Under the scheme, the beneficiaries in the general category will have to bear 20% of the cost while SC/ST beneficiaries have to bear 10% of the cost incurred for the construction of farm ponds. For farm ponds that are minimum 7 metre X 7 metre, and 3.6 metre deep, the department has prepared an estimate of Rs 13,000 to Rs 14,000.

"The pond measuring 10 metre x10 metre with three-metre depth has a capacity to store 220 cubic metres (CMT) of water, which is sufficient for an acre of land. While the government provides 80% subsidy towards total expenditure of Rs 23,957 on building the pond, I had to bear the remaining expenditure of 20%," said a beneficiary Cheluvamma.

"Under the Krishi Bhagya scheme, preference has been given to construction of farm ponds in Dakshina Kannada, to rejuvenate the water table. As a result, no tarpaulin is given to beneficiaries in the district. In other districts, tarpaulin is used to storing water in farm ponds to use the water to irrigate the farm land during a dry spell. As water is available in the district, the department has given thrust for farm ponds to increase the ground water table," said Kempe Gowda.

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