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Mission incomplete

Rajiv Gandhi Water Management Mission, projected as Rajasthan Government's biggest achievement in water management, has remained a non-starter. Constituted in July 2001 for integrated development of water resources in Rajasthan, the high-profile mission chaired by the Chief Minister is yet to go beyond the mere statement of objectives.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2003 14:48 IST
PTI

 
Drawing water from a well dug under the Rajiv Gandhi Water Management Scheme.

Rajiv Gandhi Water Management Mission, projected as Rajasthan Government's biggest achievement in water management, has remained a non-starter.



Constituted in July 2001 for an integrated and planned development of water resources in Rajasthan, the high-profile mission chaired by the Chief Minister is yet to go beyond the mere statement of objectives.

When asked about the Mission's achievements so far, Irrigation Minister Kamla Beniwal said, "We have done so many things. Ask the irrigation secretary."

District plans: Irrigation Secretary RN Meena gave a list of District Wise Master Plan for water harvesting, prepared before the constitution of the Mission, as the achievement. Under the Master Plan, about 47,000 water harvesting works like anicuts, johads, and tanks were identified to be completed at the cost of Rs 1,600 crore.

Out of the total target, about 17,000 works are already complete, although officials said that most of them had already been taken up under different schemes much before the Mission came.

Official sources said that the Mission had met just twice after its constitution and there were no substantial results in terms of policies or objectives.

Goals of the mission: The Mission's main objective was to arrive at policy decisions, prepare schemes for all surface and ground water, introduce well-planned, effective arrangements for ground water recharge and develop administrative and legal strategies for ground water.

It was to take decisions on issues related to water policy and prepare work plans and review and monitor their progress. Revival and maintenance of the existing traditional water sources and to remove encroachment in catchment areas of village tanks were also on its agenda. But all these objectives have remained on paper so far.

The Mission has, as its members, ministers and secretaries of about a dozen departments and four experts.

Eminent economist VS Vyas, one of the four experts, said that the Mission was to formulate short term (2005) and long term (2025) policies on water resources management and establish system of coordination among different departments.

"But Rajiv Gandhi Water Management Mission has remained a paper tiger. I am at a loss to say what we have achieved. The CM constituted it with good intentions but there are no results," he said.

D K Singh

First Published: Jul 11, 2003 14:43 IST