A total of 1,549 water bodies have been taken care of under the ‘Repair, Renovation, and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies’ scheme, up to March 2021 with the central assistance of Rs 469.69 crore released to states, the Parliament was informed on Thursday.
These 1,549 water bodies are in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh with maximum (810) in Odisha, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
From the 12th Plan onwards, a total of 2,228 water bodies have been taken up for restoration in various states, at an estimated cost of Rs 1,914.86 crore, he said.
The Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation is implementing RRR of water bodies under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) with main objectives as comprehensive improvement and restoration of water bodies, thereby, increasing tank storage capacity, improvement of catchment areas of tank command etc, he said.
Increased ground water recharge is one of the key objectives of the scheme.
The ongoing 6th minor irrigation census is, for the first time, collecting details of all water bodies (both in rural and urban areas) irrespective of their use, and this will form the basis of monitoring the health and spread of water bodies.
As per the latest census, being 5th census of minor irrigation schemes with reference year 2013-14, there are 5,16,303 water bodies in the rural areas of the country, which are being used for minor irrigation.
“Out of these, 53,396 water bodies are not in use for various reasons such as non-availability of water, siltation, salinity, etc.”, the minister said.
However, he also said that “no specific information about encroachment of water bodies by anti-social elements is available”.