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Govt. to seek World Bank nod to extend tank project

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, MARCH 10. The State Government has decided to seek the World Bank's permission to rejuvenate 700 more tanks under the Community-based Tank Management Project in the backward taluks on the borders of the State.

Addressing presspersons after a meeting with the Jala Samvardhane Yojana Sangha (JSYS), the implementing agency, the Minister for Water Resources and Transport, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, said the sangha hopes to save up to Rs. 140 crores from the project, targeted to revive 2,005 tanks in nine districts by 2008-09. A sum of Rs. 330 crores has been released to rejuvenate 678 tanks in nine districts by the end of June 2005. The Nanjundappa Committee report on regional imbalances had identified a few backward taluks in border areas, and the funds saved will be used to rejuvenate 700 tanks in those taluks, he said.

The Government has been implementing the Rs. 670-crore World Bank-aided tank management project since 2002 in 34 taluks of Kolar, Tumkur, Haveri, Chitradurga, Raichur, Bellary, Koppal, Bagalkot and Bidar districts. So far work on 102 tanks has been completed at a cost of Rs. 75 crores. About 2,700 tanks will be covered under the project, to be completed by 2009. The border taluks were not been included in the original project appraisal, Mr. Kharge said.

The progress of the project was tardy during the first two years on account of a delay in the identification of tanks and formation of farmers' societies. Of the allotted Rs. 670 crores, 12 per cent will be spent on the employees, 17 per cent on strengthening communities and 71 per cent on tank works.

Madagascar method

The Minister said the project promoted the Madagascar method of paddy cultivation for getting more yield with less water. Nearly 300 farmers in Kolar, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts have adopted the method, Mr. Kharge said.

The Bangalore and Dharwad campuses of the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) are providing consultancy services for enhancement of agricultural productivity in the project area.

To a question, Mr. Kharge said the Water Resources Department has recovered 89 hectares of land encroached upon in tanks.

The Law Department has been requested to bring in a law against the encroachment of tanks, he added.

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