R. Sairam

Rs. 89 lakh given to 2,314 farmers

MADURAI: A major NABARD-funded project to replenish ground water levels by creating artificial recharge structures has taken off in the district. More than 34,175 dug wells have been identified tentatively in seven blocks, where ground water levels are low.

“A sum of Rs.89.42 lakh has already been disbursed to 2,314 farmers, of the total 5,306 who had applied. The money was credited directly in their bank accounts,” Assistant General Manager of NABARD R. Srinivasan told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

The Collector S.S. Jawahar is keen that the maximum dug wells are covered at the earliest to tap monsoon rains.

The main emphasis of the project, he said, was to bring out the areas from critical levels of water.

“I have written to 200-odd panchayat presidents in these seven blocks regarding this project and also presentations were made to Village Administrative Officers about the project. The procedures for applying have been simplified,” he said.

Mr. Srinivasan said that Rs.4,000 would be spent per well to construct artificial recharge structures after farmers sign undertakings against misuse of funds. For small farmers and marginal farmers (who own up to 5 acres), the entire sum would be given by NABARD. For other farmers, 50 per cent of the amount would be given and they should contribute the rest.

The District Level Implementation and Monitoring Committee, chaired by the Collector, conducted its fourth meeting on Monday to review the progress. Mr. Jawahar had also ordered awareness campaign to be conducted in these seven blocks. Officials of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Agriculture Engineering departments will be involved in taking the project to farmers.

The use of groundwater has been assessed in a survey conducted by the groundwater division of the Public Works Department. While Chellampatti, Sedapatti and Usilampatti blocks have been categorised as ‘overexploited,’ T. Kallupatti, Tirumangalam and Tirupparankundram blocks are ‘semi-critical’ and Alanganallur ‘critical.’