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Helping villagers become self-reliant

By Our Correspondent

KOLAR, FEB. 4. The Jalasamvardhane programme launched by the Government with assistance from World Bank has become an important means for villagers in Kolar district to become self-reliant. Though the thrust is to rejuvenate the water table by taking up repair and renovation of tanks in villages, the allied activities under the programme have helped villagers, especially the youth, to attain self-sufficiency, said M.V.N. Rao, Executive Director of Gram Vikas, which is implementing the programme at Hosakere of Mulbagal taluk in the district.

Hosakere has become a role model for other villages in implementing the programme. Hosakere is a small village situated in the hilly region about 20 km from Kolar and has 52 families comprising 268 people, 78 per cent of whom belong to the Scheduled Caste.

There are two tanks in the village and Gram Vikas identified Chikka Kere for implementing the project. The first grama sabha was held in December 2002. Later, a tank users group was formed and 132 people from the village enrolled as members. They decided to take up the programme under the supervision of Gram Vikas. The group has taken up various activities, including removal of silt from Chikka Kere. Silt has been removed from the tank to enable it to hold more water. The tank bund was strengthened at a cost of Rs. 3 lakhs. The sluice channels were repaired to help water flow into the tank. Besides, turfing of the tank bund was taken up. Though the actual estimate was Rs. 6.06 lakhs, the tank users group members have been able to save Rs. 47,000.

The allied activities of the programme include plantation on the foreshore area, kitchen garden in households, sheep rearing and training in modern agriculture technology. As many as 25 youth members of Sri Bhagath Yuva Sangh are now engaged in vermi compost culture. With a view to make the best use of the tank, pisciculture was taken up and over 10,000 fingerlings were allowed to culture in the tank. Now the fish is ready for harvesting. In all, over 2,000 mandays were generated in the last one year thus providing the villagers an opportunity to become self-reliant. The villagers were taught paddy cultivation under the Madagascar system, which requires only a little water for cultivation. They were persuaded to take up rainwater harvesting, which Mr. Rao says will help rejuvenate the water table.

M.S. Girija, team leader, says Gram Vikas has taken up the task of implementing the programme in four other villages, including Honnasettyhalli.

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