With hardly three months to go for Assembly elections in Haryana, the BJP government in state Thursday announced an ambitious plan under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan to construct 1.5 lakh soak pits, expand 4,000 ponds in villages, and plant 30 lakh trees apart from setting up roof top rain water harvesting structures.
The government intends to complete the works, to be allotted under the Mahatma Gandhi National RuraL Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), by September 15.
The campaign is aimed at tackling scarcity of water in 81 blocks of state’s 19 districts, a senior official said. As per the official records, groundwater is over-exploited in more than half of Haryana. In as many as 21 blocks, which have been labelled as dark zones, tubewells are not allowed to be installed. In total, there are 64 blocks where groundwater has been over exploited because of tubewells installed to irrigate paddy and wheat crops.
Haryana Chief Secretary Keshni Anand Arora, through a video conferencing Thursday, directed the officials in 19 districts to ensure successful implementation of the ‘Special Water Conservation Campaign’.
Arora also held a meeting of senior officials in New Delhi. Arora informed in the meeting that in addition to the government buildings, rainwater harvesting systems will be expanded to private buildings too. Old rainwater harvesting plants will be repaired and made operational, and 100 places will be marked in each district to extend the rainwater harvesting process. Apart from this, natural water resources and ponds will also be rejuvenated and plantation drive launched to expand the green area. It was also informed that in urban areas, work will be taken up in a planned and timely manner to achieve the goals of rainwater harvesting, sewerage treatment system, plantation and other related points.
Arora stressed on the need of regular submission of details and sharing with each other the inspirational works done in districts in the direction of rainwater harvesting. He also stressed on the need of NGOs and corporate sector working together in the rainwater harvesting campaign. The government has decided to ensure role of the students in spreading awareness about rainwater harvesting.
The government said that targets will be set in a planned manner for water storage, expansion of green area and awareness campaign in the cities across the state. While, responsibility of the officers will be fixed at each municipal level for achieving the set goals for July, August and September every year, the monitoring team will work for the smooth operation of the entire process.
Haryana Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain had on Wednesday directed the officers to remove encroachments on priority basis from reservoirs, ponds and lakes, and ensure digging of reservoirs by stopping release of dirty water into them. She said that the work should be started in 18 cities of the state under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme and in other cities, by preparing departmental action plan.
“The cooperation of the nearby residents or organisations should be ensured in the restoration of the reservoir so that they could be made aware of water conservation,” said Jain.