Farmers in parts of Malwa belt of Madhya Pradesh will have the facility of smart prepaid meters for irrigation in about three-year time.
The scheme, being implemented under the Narmada-Malwa-Gambhir link project, will provide irrigation facility in several villages covering 50,000 hectares of area in Indore and Ujjain districts.
“Under the scheme, farmers will be given a card similar to an ATM card that they can top up with an amount of their choice. The aim is to make the entire process transparent and user-friendly,” said JN Shivhare, member (engineering), Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA).
A per the scheme, a farmer wanting to irrigate his field will be required to insert his card in the meter slot at pump house and select the amount of water required. The irrigation water will be distributed to the individual fields through an underground pipe network.
Sources said the system will also solve the problem of farmers defaulting on electricity bill. The system ensures that not only the farmers pay for what they use, but also prevents them from being exploited by the local operators, who charge hefty amounts to rent pumps.
It is particularly useful for small and marginal farmers, who don’t have the resources to investment in a tube well based irrigation system. “At present, a survey has been conducted and it will take about three years of time to implement the project,” Shivhare said.
In June this year, the state government had approved the Narmada-Malwa-Gambhir link project with an estimated cost of Rs 2,143 crore.