Rain water conservation drive brings hope to Rajasthan’s parched areas

Udaipur (Rajasthan), Sep 6 (IANS) The Rajasthan government’s Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavalamban Abhiyan (MJSA), launched in 3,500 villages in January to deal with the problems of drought and groundwater depletion by conserving rain water, has achieved satisfactory results and its second phase is underway, say officials.

“Three out of every five years are drought years in the state. Groundwater storage was depleting in many areas. Through the combined efforts and resources of the government and the people, we have been able to make a success of this state-wide drive,” said Sriram Vedire, chairperson of the Rajasthan River Basin and Water Resources Planning Authority, told IANS.

“As many as 93,000 water harvesting structures that include contour trenches, anicuts, ponds, mini percolation tanks, field bundings have have been constructed across 3,500 villages within six months,” said Vedire, also an advisor to the Water Resources Ministry.

Zila Parishad CEO Avichal Chaturvedi said that in addition to these structures, near about 25 lakh trees have been planted and are being taken care of by respective departments and by the people.

Complete transparency and accountability based on mobile based monitoring were maintained during the project, said Vedire, adding that “near real time geo-tagged progress has been captured through mobile apps at every stage of work”.

The estimated cost of the phase one of the project was Rs 1,700 crore, generated by donations under corporate social responsibility (CSR), funds from agriculture, horticulture and panchayat departments and allocations under various schemes that include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Integrated Watershed Management Programme as well money specifically allocated for MJSA.

Contribution of Rs 55 crore came from religious groups and villagers.

“For the second phase of activities that started in August, we are targeting 4,200 villages,” said Vedire.

–IANS

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