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Nabard aid for solving water problem sought

By Our Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, NOV. 17. The Water Resources Minister, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, has asked Nabard to modify some of its norms to suit `Kerala specific conditions.'

The Minister who was inaugurating a one-day workshop on minor irrigation schemes organised by the Nabard here today said that although the State was blessed with a large number of rivers and heavy rainfall, availability of water for both drinking and irrigation was a problem.

He felt that the programmes and schemes of the Nabard could go a long way in mitigating the problem.

While stressing the need for rainwater harvesting, the Minister suggested that like in the earlier days, there was a need to introduce a system in which even children would join hands with others in undertaking water conservation measures during the rainy season.

Mass movement

The need of the hour was to make the programme a mass movement involving the local people and all Government agencies, NGOs and banks.

The Principal Secretary, Agriculture, K. J. Mathew, in his introductory remarks, said that, for the current year (2004-05), Rs. 125 crores had been allocated under RIDF for irrigation, which was far in excess of the total sanctions during the past 10 years.

He assured that the State Government machinery would be geared up so as to successfully formulate and implement all the minor irrigation works under RIDF as envisaged.

The Executive Director of Nabard, Amaresh Kumar, in his address assured the Minister that Nabard would provide all necessary support to State Government and banks in ensuring efficient and proper use of both surface water and ground water.

He felt that there was a need for more interaction and involvement at all levels.

The Chief General Manager of Nabard, B. S. Shekhawat in his welcome address mentioned the role played by Nabard in the creation of infrastructure by the State Government for irrigation and also in providing credit support to banks for investment by farmers for minor irrigation activities. The State Government and bankers in Kerala should join hands to improve water management techniques and technologies to fully harness the water resources. Nabard would be too glad to assist both the agencies.

The State Government had made an allocation of Rs.125 crores to the water resources sector during the current year to be borrowed from Nabard.

Nabard was looking forward to RIDF projects for this amount.

The workshop deliberated on potential and critical areas of ground water development, ground water legislation, scope for water users' association, participatory irrigation, scope for rainwater harvesting, district specific issues on ground water development etc.

The workshop was attended by about 30 participants representing various Central Government organisations, State Government departments and banks in the State.

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