Minister for Minor Irrigation Govind Karjol on Friday said that he had presented a proposal for a Rs. 890-crore pilot project to the Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for taking up integrated development of 4,289 tanks in Kolar and Chickballapur districts, so that they would not only supply water to irrigation and drinking purposes, but also raise the groundwater table there.

Speaking to presspersons here, the Minister said that the two districts had the largest number of tanks in the State, where the water table had gone down to more than 1,000 ft.

Drinking water drawn from a borewell below 200 ft was unsafe, the Minister added.

He said that Mr. Bansal was told that the State Government was ready to share 25 per cent of the project cost.

Mr. Karjol said that he had discussed it with Union Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa and had sought the cooperation of Union Minister for Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily, who represent the two districts in the Lok Sabha.

The Minister said that he had convinced the Union Water Resources Ministry to sanction Rs. 885.49 crore under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme for taking up 729 works in 87 drought-prone taluks to develop barrages, pick-ups, tanks and “bandharas”, and 70 per cent of the works had been completed.

This had helped farmers to draw water directly from these facilities.

Proposals

For 2012-13, he had presented two proposals to the Union Government for sanctioning Rs. 350 crore for continuing the work under the scheme in 10 districts.

He said that a Rs. 95-crore project had been approved by the Union Ministry for taking up three works under a programme to protect towns/villages from floods caused by rain or river waters.

Another proposal (Rs. 22 crore) for taking up five works was submitted recently. Under a proposal for a Rs. 277-crore project for repair, rehabilitation and rejuvenation of 375 tanks, work on 245 of them had been completed.

Study

He said that the department, in collaboration with the Central Ground Water Board and the Department of Mines and Geology, had taken up a study called “Dynamic Ground Water Resources of Karnataka”.

It had revealed that groundwater in 106 of the 176 taluks in the State was unfit for human consumption. This had led to numerous diseases among the people.

Under these circumstances, the Minister said, the only panacea was to introduce rainwater harvesting on a big scale.

As much as 1,600 acres of land belonging to 2,578 tanks of the 3,542 tanks under his department, had been encroached upon.

More In: Karnataka | National