The Centre has sanctioned a special irrigation scheme worth Rs 3,250 crore aimed to meet a new micro-irrigation target of 1,43,500 hectares in the Vidarbha region still coping with reports of farmer suicides.
The Centre had,under the 2006 Prime Minister’s package,given about Rs 4,211 crore for irrigation projects in Vidarbha that the government claims has created an additional potential of 1,22,896 hectares.
Called Vidarbha Intensive Irrigation Development Project (VIIDP),the new scheme is to be spread over four years (2012-13 to 2016-17) and will create the target irrigation potential by implementing various measures ranging from building new minor and micro-irrigation projects to in situ water conservation and providing the farmers with subsidised irrigation implements.
The schemes main objectives are to increase cotton productivity,bring maximum area under irrigation,increase water-retention capacity of soil by in situ soil and water conservation,renovation and strengthening of existing minor irrigation projects,providing farmers with water-drawing implements and increase use of drip irrigation for economic and effective utilisation of irrigation water.
In the current year,Rs 300 crore will be spent on various components. Divisional Joint Director of Agriculture,Amravati Division,Suresh Ambulgikar says: The scheme will be implemented jointly by Minor Irrigation sector of the zilla parishad and the agriculture department. In our division,which is mainly cotton and soyabean-growing area,we will be selecting the existing watershed areas for soil and water conservation in farmers lands. The basic unit for the project wont be the village,but the watershed areas that might include areas of one or more villages.
About 1,000 hectares will be focussed on in each tehsil for the implementation of various components of the scheme.
In the Nagpur division,a predominantly paddy-growing area,the stress will be on strengthening dams and bodis (small tanks) as also creating new irrigation potential by building new small irrigation tanks.
While the contents of the project remain similar to other such independent projects for the various components,VIIDP brings the various schemes in one package. And the funds spent in the scheme will be different from those spent on the individual component schemes, says Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Sudhir Kumar Goel.
For example,there is already an independent scheme for watershed development. The funds and projects in that scheme will remain different from the ones to be undertaken in the new scheme.
The International Fund for Agriculture Development-sponsored Rs 627-crore Convergence of Agriculture Initiatives in Maharashtra that is bringing all agriculture schemes under one umbrella of integrated implementation is already under way in six cotton-growing districts of Amravati,Akola,Wardha,Buldana,Washim and Yavatmal.
Soil and water conservation
(Total planned expenditure: Rs 1,791 cr)
* In situ soil,water conservation (3.85 lakh hectares),dams repairs (77,000 ha): Rs 125 cr
* Farm ponds (57,750 nos): Rs 346.50 cr
* Check dams (7,700): Rs 462 cr
* De-silting of cement nullah dams (15,400): Rs 308 cr
* Micro-irrigation (1,43,500 ha),diesel and electric pump and delivery pipe supply: Rs 549.50 cr
(Total planned expenditure: Rs 1,459 cr)
* Restoration of existing irrigation potential: Rs 104.50 cr
* Filling up of farm ponds with water from rivers and nullahs by 2,200 lift schemes and creating new 425 lift schemes for new farm ponds: Rs 521.50 cr
* Increasing the water storage in existing weirs: Rs 60 cr
* Creating 525 new minor irrigation schemes and improving ongoing schemes: Rs 763 cr
* Setting up water users associations: Rs 10 cr