Thursday, May 18, 2017

State miles behind achieving farm pond target

The Hindu: Mumbai: Thursday, May 18, 2017.
Despite the government’s tall prediction in 2016 of building over five lakh farm ponds in the next five years, information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that the State in the financial year 2016-17 has built only 5,210 ponds, raising questions over the implementation of the scheme.
Activist Tanmay Kanitkar has sought information from the Centre on the actual water-related works completed in the country in 2016-17. “Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2016 had said that the country will have 10 lakh farm ponds by March 31, 2017. I wanted to know what had happened on ground and hence I filed an application under RTI,” said Mr. Kanitkar, president, Parivartan, an NGO in Pune.
Data shows that even the Centre has not achieved its target and has built only 5,78,589 farm ponds. Andhra Pradesh has built 3,11,361 ponds, which is the highest by any State.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in April 2016 had set the target of building five lakh farm ponds in five years under ‘magel tyala shet tale’ (farm pond on demand). The ponds are being set up to create captive source of water for the farmer in his own farm, which is also likely to help increase the groundwater. The government provides a subsidy of ₹50,000 to dig the pond.
The State has fallen short in achieving its target of building one lakh farm ponds every year. Interestingly, Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao in his address to the State legislature on the budget session had said that the State has built over 9,000 ponds.