Kolar TP to seek funds for fencing farm ponds

13 people have drowned in the water bodies in recent months

The Taluk Panchayat has resolved to submit a proposal to the Agriculture department seeking funds for erecting fence or constructing parapet around agri ponds.

Speaking at the general meeting of Taluk Panchayat here on Tuesday, member Munibyrappa said that a total of 13 people have died in the district after falling into farm ponds and attributed the deaths to lack of safety measures around the ponds.

Taluk Panchayat president V Manjunatha Gowda and others too joined the issue and expressed concern over the deaths. They said that the officials of the Agriculture department should impose a condition for the beneficiaries while releasing subsidy amount and make fencing mandatory around the ponds. The members said that subsidy amount should not be released if the beneficiaries fail to put up fence.

“The taluk has received widespread rains in the past few days and as a result a majority of the farm ponds have filled up. Since Dasara holiday has been declared for educational institutions, children come to these ponds for swimming. Moreover, women who wash clothes in these ponds also face the risk of drowning. The officials of the agriculture department should take steps to create awareness about safety measures around farm ponds” Munibyrappa said.

Assistant Director of Agriculture Department S Rangaswamy told the meeting that as many as 497 farm ponds had been constructed in the taluk in the past one and half years of which 350 had filled with rain water. He said that there had also been instances of children drowning in ponds with fencing around.

He said it had been decided not to release subsidy amount to beneficiaries who do not erect fence around farm ponds. A report would be submitted to the government seeking more funds for erecting fence, the officer said.

Member Munibyrappa alleged irregularities in paying drought relief compensation last year. Claiming that compensation had been paid to ineligible persons also, the member said that the village accountants should verify the land records before releasing the compensation money. He also suggested that the officials should visit the spot for an assessment of the damage.

Rangaswamy said that maintenance of land records comes under the Revenue department and hence the officials of Revenue department release the relief money. However, steps will be taken to ensure that the money is not misused. Last year, a sum of Rs 5.50 cr was disbursed as compensation towards crop loss on account of drought. There has been no respite in the situation this year and ragi, toor crops have been damaged on a large scale. A proposal has been submitted to the State government seeking to release Rs six crore towards drought relief, he added.

Crops on 2,369 hectares of land had been destroyed in the taluk due to drought causing distress to 1,794 farmers. The Agriculture and Horticulture departments have conducted a joint survey on crop loss before submitting a report to the State government. Farmers would stand to benefit if they insure their crops, Senior Assistant Director of Horticulture department Halalingaiah said.

The meeting resolved to distribute insecticide spraying machine to 47 farmers, impart training in apiary to women from farmers’ families and distribute 1.90 lakh mango and coconut saplings under Scheduled Tribe sub-plan.

Taluk Panchayat Vice President G Muddumani, Executive Officer K C      and others were present in the meeting.

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