No funds for water conservation as demand peaks in paddy sowing season
No district has been able to implement water conservation measures as part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana , Rural Infrastructure Development Funds and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas YojanaUpdated: Jul 07, 2020 18:04 IST
With demand for water peaking in paddy sowing season, groundwater levels in Punjab are showing signs of depletion even as no progress is being reported in sustainable water management schemes because the Centre and states have not released funds.
No district has this year been able to implement water conservation measures as part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Rural Infrastructure Development Funds ( RIDF-20) and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
Sources who wish to remain anonymous say neither the state nor the Centre have released funds under any soil and water conservation scheme this year. Therefore, districts which are receiving applications from farmers and others to adopt water saving measures cannot keep up with the demand.
To popularise such schemes the government had announced subsidies on water conservation measures such as installing rain gun, setting up systems for drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, micro sprinkler, mini sprinkler and water pipeline.
According to the soil and water conservation department, Punjab, the centre has 60 share in PMKSY and RKVY while RIDF-20 is sponsored by the state government under a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development project.
An official of the department said paddy was considered to be the most water consuming crop but the districts were struggling to provide benefit to farmers.
Pleading anonymity, he said, “The Centre and state governments already had low budgets for implementation of the conservation schemes. For example, last year a district demanded Rs 1 crore after taking into account farmers’ demands, but it was sanctioned Rs 20 lakh. However this year, no district has received any funds.”
Dharminder Sharma, chief conservator, soils, Punjab, said, “No scheme has been scrapped. Funds have just been deferred because of the Covid-19 situation. It’s just a delay,”
Kahan Singh Pannu, secretary, agriculture department, said, “I am not aware of it. I will speak to officials concerned.”