Other States

Recharge of wells opens up livelihood potential for migrant workers

Initiative has also led to a significant increase in the shallow aquifer levels in Rajasthan

An initiative for recharge of wells through rainwater harvesting in the rural areas of Rajasthan has opened up livelihood potential for the migrant workers returning to their native villages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intervention has also led to a significant increase in the shallow aquifer levels.

Jaipur-based Kumarappa Institute of Gram Swaraj, engaged in capacity building for self-governance at the grassroots level, has launched the project in Jaipur district’s Chaksu and Tonk district’s Niwai panchayat samitis. The technique involves diversion of run-off rainwater to a tank, followed by its transfer to the well through an inlet channel.

The institute has helped replenish groundwater aquifers and recharged 55 wells in the two regions during the last two years. The farmers, who earlier suffered from water shortage for crop production, have immensely benefited from the initiative due to timely sowing and harvesting a good yield.

Kumarappa Institute’s Project Director Amit Kumar told The Hindu on Tuesday that the work was site-specific and environment-friendly, as the wells were selected after studying the direction of flow and availability of rainwater. “It makes a big impact at a small level. Unlike other rainwater harvesting structures, there is no loss of water by evaporation,” he said.

The recharge of a well, involving the tank’s construction, laying of channel and trapping the silt, creates 40 man-days of employment. Besides, the increase in agricultural activities and expansion of the irrigation area can create work opportunities even for the landless labourers.

Dr. Kumar said since a large number of the migrant workers were willing to live and work in their villages, the recharge could strengthen the agriculture-based economy. The related fields of horticulture, bio-farming and animal husbandry could be promoted by taking advantage of the availability of water, he said.

Dr. Kumar suggested that the State government could include the work in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which was at present being promoted for ensuring livelihood security of the migrant labourers. “Individual work on agricultural fields is covered in the MGNREGA. This can be a very useful addition to the flagship scheme,” he said.

The institute has prepared the database for 200 wells in other regions for the recharge after studying the State government’s watershed map. A large number of farmers in Chaksu and Niwai have reported a significant increase in their crop yield and planned diversification of farm produce with an expansion in the area of irrigation.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:59:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/recharge-of-wells-opens-up-livelihood-potential-for-migrant-workers/article31733134.ece

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