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Centre’s scheme to recharge wells launched in Madurai

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TACKLING HEAD-ON: Collector S.S. Jawahar addressing a workshop in the city on Tuesday.
TACKLING HEAD-ON: Collector S.S. Jawahar addressing a workshop in the city on Tuesday.

Staff Reporter

Rs. 1,800-crore project envisages augmenting groundwater level

MADURAI: A Central Government scheme to artificially recharge wells and augment groundwater through ‘recharge structures’ in the district was launched on Tuesday by Collector S.S. Jawahar.

The Rs. 1,800-crore project is being implemented with Rs. 1,499.3-crore subsidy from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Of the 13 blocks, it will be executed in seven, which have more than 50,000 wells.

Addressing a workshop organised for farmers, non-governmental organisations, bankers and officials involved in the project, Mr. Jawahar said that farmers should be educated about the project as their involvement was vital. The best practices of one block should be showcased, and replicated and adopted by other blocks. Nine blocks in the district had been categorised as ‘over-exploited.’

Assistant General Manager of NABARD R. Srinivasan said that deep water levels would make digging of borewells economically unviable for farmers. Water shortage was a major constraint and the main reason behind farmers getting indebted and committing suicide.

“The entire subsidy will be released in advance and credited directly to the farmer’s account.

The implementation period is three years. Physical verification to ascertain construction of recharge structures will be conducted. A maintenance subsidy of Rs. 200 will be provided at the end of two years,” he said.

Elucidating the recharge structures, S. Suresh, Scientist (South Eastern Coastal Region), Central Ground Water Board, Union Ministry of Water Resources, said that it would be a simple one requiring no engineer or mason to construct. Each structure would cost Rs. 4,000.

The procedure

Rainwater would be fed into a pit from which it would be routed into a ‘filtering unit’ and subsequently into the dugwell. The idea was to provide silt-free and unpolluted water to the wells.

Silt traps should be provided at periodic intervals. The filter should be cleaned and washed prior to the onset of monsoon. A provision to divert contaminated water from upstream should exist as it could pollute the entire system.

Dr. Suresh added that bricks should not be used as it could disintegrate into clay and impede water flow. He recommended use of ‘jully’ (gravel) for constructing the structure.

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