Parched for decades and struggling to cope with life-threatening fluorosis due to over-exploitation of groundwater, 14 districts across Karnataka will get a helping hand from the Centre under its ambitious Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABHY).
The project, to be launched on December 25 (the birth anniversary of former PM, the late Atal Behari Vajpayee) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have been the ambitious programme of the Ministry of Water Resources aimed to involve local communities in rejuvenating groundwater and promote conservation and efficient use of water.
Of the 14 districts, more than 10 are from south Karnataka, revealing the severity of the groundwater exploitation. While the overall cost of the project is Rs 6,000 crore, assisted by the World Bank, Karnataka will be provided with a whopping Rs 1201.52 crore, according to Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. In a letter to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, a copy of which is with DH, Shekhawat said, “As many as 1,199 gram panchayats in 14 districts of Karnataka are considered to be priority areas and included in the scheme.”
Taluks under the project: Pavagada, Madhugiri, Koratagere, Chikkanayakanahalli, Nelamangala, Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Chikkaballapur, Chintamani, Gudibande, Gauribidanur, Bagepalli, Shidlaghatta, Bangarpet, Mulbagal, Srinivasapur, Kanakapura and Magadi. A similar number of districts in Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh represent about 25% of the total number of over-exploited, critical and semi-critical blocks of the groundwater table.
Under the scheme, besides the involvement of local communities for rejuvenation of water bodies, the government will also form water user associations for constant monitoring of water table and water budgeting.
Speaking to DH, G S Basavaraju, the Tumkur MP, said, “With the scheme, we will get to know about the exact use of water. Earlier, the PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana did not focus much on water audit and budget. But now, one will be able to estimate the exact use of water, for potable and agriculture purposes at the village level.”