Minister allays water crisis fears, says efforts on to recharge ground waterUpdated: Sep 16, 2019 20:12 IST
Allaying fears of a water crisis in the country, Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on Monday said that steps were being taken to recharge underground water in dried up zones and the result would visible in the next five years.
“We need not to worry when we have a PM like Modi. Currently, of a total 6,800 blocks in the country, 1,500 in 256 districts have either dried up completely or are near dry. These are identified as dark zones. On being instructed by the PM who raised the issue of water conservation in his monthly radio address Man ki Bat on June 30, we are working on a plan to recharge the underground water, with immediate focus on dark zones.
“Using high technology 3D thermal cameras, capable of examining 300 meters deep in the ground, we will first conduct a study before rolling out a plan to recharge underground water. In the next five years, blocks other then these will be examined to see if any action is required. We will certainly move from dark zone to safe zone in next couple of years,” the minister said, speaking as chief guest during a programme organised at the Gorakhnath Temple to mark the death anniversaries of temple’s former head priests Mahant Digvijaynath and Mahant Avaidynath,
Citing the example of Israel, the minister said that the desert country which came into existence with the Independence of India in 1945, has set an example by not only overcoming the water crisis but also becoming exporter of packaged water to neighbouring country like Syria and Jordan, besides being a leading vegetable producer, as it used technology including drip irrigation to grow trees. “Can we learn something from a country like Singapore, which recycles sewage water and markets it as packaged drinking water?,” he said suggesting further cutting down on water wastage on crops like paddy, which, on an average, take 3,600 litres of water per kg produce.
He welcomed the move by the UP Government in the direction of water conservation and suggested that state governments should encourage farmers to grow crops that require less water and use irrigation technologies that check water wastage. “In Maharashtra, where sugarcane is the main crop and requires abundant water, the Fadnavis government has allowed the permission of sugar cane growing only on the condition of drip irrigation, which checks water wastage. Such measures need to be followed by other states.”
‘We will stop India’s share of water flowing to Pakistan’
Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Shekhawat reiterated that India will stop water from flowing to Pakistan. “India and Pakistan have a treaty on distribution of water under the Sindh Water Pact. But despite this treaty, water of rivers falling in the Indian territory, flows into Pakistan and goes waste. Besides, there is a vast land after the last dam of River Ravi. Rain water falling on this land flows into Pakistan through rivers. Nobody should be upset if we use of water of our territory in the interest of our farmers, our people.”
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 20:12 IST