Source: The Hindu :
The Bidar Zilla Panchayat has begun a ‘shramdan’ programme across the district.
Workers and farmers can enrol in schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and they will be paid wages even if they clean wells or create water harvesting structures such as farm ponds on their own farm. Open wells on public or private land will be taken up for cleaning.
The project was launched on Sunday and the first well to be cleaned was in Sirgapur village in Basavakalyan taluk. Sharat B., Bidar Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer, got down into the well and began removing stone, silt, garbage and weeds. Other officers joined him too.
The well was cleaned after four hours of labour. Heavy rain had breached the Sirgapur tank bund last year, carrying silt and small stones into the wells.
“We are using village heralders to spread the message. We are urging village residents to utilise the facility and get job cards,” Mr. Sharat said. Work on dredging 36 of the 120 major tanks was under progress, he said. One third of the 600 villages are suffering from water scarcity in Bidar district that has received only 60 per cent of the aggregate annual rainfall this year. According to sources, most of these villages have drinking water schemes or locally available groundwater sources that can be harnessed. Existing borewells will be flushed and cleaned to increase yield.
According to a report sent to the State government, the district has 826 rural drinking water schemes. They consist of large cisterns in which water from nearby borewells was being filled. Water flows as an effect of gravity to mini-water tanks in different residential areas.
The problem, however, is that only 322 of these schemes have power supply. Taluk panchayat executive officers have requested the Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company to provide power supply to these units.
The power distribution agency has approved only 74 requests till now.
Meanwhile, fodder is in short supply in the district. Veterinary Department officials estimate that standing green grass and fodder stock can last only six weeks.
“We have plans to set up fodder centres and cow sheds in case of fodder scarcity,” officials said.
One third of villages suffering from water scarcity in the district
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