'Antarjala Chetana to be extended to all districts'

'Antarjala Chetana' to be extended to all Karnataka districts, says K S Eshwarappa

K S Eshwarappa

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister K S Eshwarappa on Tuesday stated that the 'Antarjala Chetana' programme aimed at improving the groundwater level would be extended to all districts in the Karnataka, and several agencies have come forward to offer technical guidance.

"This programme under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is being implemented in nine districts on a pilot basis, and it will be extended to the entire State gradually," he said.

In nine districts, Art of Living is offering technical guidance and supervision service free of cost. The plan is to complete groundwater recharging works in three years. For works like bund and pond construction under this scheme, farmers with less than five acres of land would also get money directly, Eshwarappa noted.

In the wake of more people returning to villages due to the COVID-19 situation, job cards under MGNREGS are being issued to all except elected representatives, income taxpayers and government employees. Demand for job cards is increasing though there is still fear about Covid-19, Eshwarappa observed.

A total of 9.19 lakh people worked under the MGNREGS in the State on Monday alone. Karnataka is in the second position in the country in taking up MGNREGS works, only after Chhattisgarh. 

MGNREGS works have begun in all 6,021 gram panchayats in the State to give jobs for rural people during the ongoing situation caused by Covid-19 pandemic. Wage is increased from Rs 249 to Rs 275 per day. The pending amount related to wages and material under MGNREGS is also released, he said.

In reply to a query over the fate of gram panchayats with elected bodies completing their term soon, Eshwarappa said, "We are ready for elections also. Continuing the term of existing bodies, appointing an administrator or having an administrative committee are the options before the government. A decision in this regard would be taken by the Cabinet soon".

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