Centre looks to flatten Chambal badlands for farming

Last Updated : 26 July 2020, 13:19 IST

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Once synonymous with dacoits, the rugged ravines of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh may turn to a food bowl for the country.

The Centre has revived a project for reclaiming the ravines spread across three lakh hectares in the Gwalior-Chambal region and bringing it under cultivation.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who represents Gwalior in the Lok Sabha, held a meeting with World Bank representatives to reclaim the ravines, which are a result of soil erosion.

“If this area is improved, then this will help in the integrated development of the ravines area in Gwalior–Chambal region,” Tomar said.

He said the proposed reforms in this project will not only help to improve agricultural development and the environment, but it will also create employment opportunities for the people and lead to substantive development of this region.

The project to develop the ravines has been on the agenda for several years, but progress has been slow owing to high costs involved.

The Centre is not trying to rope in the World Bank to fund the project and a preliminary report on it is expected to be submitted in a month.

The project would involve leveling of the ravines, building percolation tanks and creating bunds to prevent erosion of soil in the largely arid region.

All the aspects related to technology, infrastructure, capital cost, investment etc. will be taken into consideration prior to initiating the work of the proposed project with minimum budget allocation, Vivek Agarwal, Joint Secretary, in the Agriculture Ministry said.

Centre also has plans to build the Chambal Expressway which is expected to contribute to the development of the region.

Ravines are spread across 3.97 million hectares of land spanning Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The plan to reclaim the ravines has been on the discussion table since 1971 and has met with little success, mostly in attempts to level them.

There have been individual success stories where farmers have leveled the ravines for cultivation, but costs to maintain them remain high.

Published 26 July 2020, 13:19 IST

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