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Atal Bhujal Yojana: Amarinder writes to PM for inclusion of Punjab

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON DEC 26, 2019 10:58 PM IST

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday asked the Centre to include Punjab in the 6000 crore ‘Atal Bhujal Yojana’ for conservation of groundwater resources.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CM cited media reports about exclusion of Punjab from the scheme, urging him to direct the ministry of jal shakti to include the state. The central ministry has selected seven states under the scheme which is proposed to be implemented in 8,350 water-stressed villages of Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

Expressing concern over Punjab’s non-inclusion in the scheme given the fact that the rate of depletion of groundwater is the highest in Punjab, Amarinder pointed out that 20 of the 22 districts of the state (other than Pathankot and Muktsar) were under serious stress of depletion of groundwater.

The CM said the jal shakti ministry had deputed officers to visit these districts earlier this year and over 3/4th of the blocks in the state had been declared water-stressed, including some as critical, as per a recent report of the Central Groundwater Board.

“I need not overemphasise the fact Punjab had depleted its only natural resource, i.e. groundwater thanks to the practice of intensive agriculture, especially cultivation of paddy, for achieving food security for the nation,” he wrote.

He further pointed out that availability of surface water had also declined in the last few decades. “Based on empirical data, Punjab presents a strong case for immediate assistance for water conservation,” he added.

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