Aims to set up 600 water purifying plants in the country by 2014

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), along with the government of Karnataka, will promote water purifying plants throughout the State to provide clean drinking water in rural areas at cheaper rates, said G.R. Chintala, Chief General Manager (CGM), Regional Office of Karnataka, Nabard.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Nabard’s learning centre, in the city, he said the bank wanted to set up 600 plants by 2014. At present, there are 200 such plants in the country, including in Dharwad and Chitradurga. Maharashtra is the latest State to get the water purifying plants.

He said that a plant costing Rs. 9.78 lakh purifies 2,000 litres of water per hour while another type of plant costing Rs. 11.78 lakh purifies 4,000 litres of water per hour.

Community benefit

The plants would be set up under Nabard’s Umbrella Programme for Natural Resource Management (UPNRM). After setting up the plant, its maintenance would be handed over to the local community. Purified water is sold at Rs. 4 for 20 litres. At present, Nabard is not packaging the purified water. While sourcing water for the plant is not a problem in the State, maintenance is important. “People can sell the purified water (once the plant is handed over to them) if they want,” he said.

Mr. Chintala said the water-purifying plants, based on reverse osmosis, were introduced as people in rural areas were losing three working days in a month because of stomach problems caused by contaminated water. He said, “This project must be taken ahead in the entire State.”

He said German President Joachim Gauck will visit a Nabard-guided organic coir cluster project developed under the UPNRM programme at the end of this year. The project combines the protection of natural resources and community development.

Yield optimisation

He said much more awareness was required of System of Rice Intensification (SRI) cultivation and Nabard would help promote the process.

It is showcasing the SRI project in Kundapur, where productivity has increased from 15 quintals to 30 quintals per acre of rice. Yields have increased in Bellary through the method, which decreases the cost of cultivation, uses less labour, provides dry fodder and is variety-neutral.

Karnataka would require two million tonnes of godown space to store agricultural products by 2017. While storage space availability was “not bad” for present needs, agricultural productivity was increasing and better quality storage would be required, he said.

The State, though doing well in agriculture this year, was “underperforming compared to potential”, he said. “People are not going into improvement practices to the level expected,” he said.