Nagesh Prabhu

1,225 tanks will be rejuvenated in eight districts

52,420 hectares of land will be brought under improved irrigation

BANGALORE: The State Government has decided to rope in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for improving rural livelihood under the Karnataka Community Based Tank Management Project, which is being implemented with World Bank loan in eight districts.

The Bank granted an additional loan of $ 64 million to the project and it has been extended to Belgaum, Bijapur, Chikmagalur, Davangere, Dharwad, Hassan, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts which are drought-prone. As many as 1,225 tanks would be rejuvenated utilising the bank credit.

Forty-eight NGOs will be identified for providing services to communities using tank water for agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry activities. The NGOs will educate and guide villagers to build self-reliant tank management institution (TMI) to manage the tank system on sustainable basis and to build the capacities of TMI through the process of planning and implementation of various activities. Major activities that NGOs will take up are related to tank system improvement, land and water management, tank-related income generation and livelihood programme. They will also impart training to farmers on owning responsibility, accountability and transparency in the management of tanks, according to officials of Jala Samvardhane Yojana Sangha (JSYS), which has been implementing the project.

The JSYS has invited Expression of Interest from NGOs to transform the project objectives into reality. A portion of the loan amount will be utilised to hire services of NGOs, the officials said.

The officials said in eight districts 52,420 hectares of land would be brought under improved irrigation, benefiting an estimated 69,900 farm families, over 90 per cent of them small and marginal farmers. In addition, about 40,000 families from weaker sections of society will be benefited from various income generating activities such as fisheries and livestock management.

The original project was approved by the Bank in 2002 and, so far, the project has mobilised 1,518 Tank User Groups to develop and manage 1,681 irrigation tanks. In 2002, the bank granted $ 98.9 million credit.

The objectives will remain the same as the original project — to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty by increase agricultural productivity and farm income. The project would encourage impact in terms of community participation, higher incomes, and employment generation for poor people in the State. It would strengthen the role of women and other traditionally marginalised groups, the officials said.