BENGALURU:The state government has decided to make drip irrigation mandatory for sugarcane growers by amending the Karnataka Irrigation Act, 1965.
Water Resources Minister M B Patil told reporters on Tuesday that this would save about 186 tmc ft of water every year, but would cost the growers and the government `4,500 crore. The government took this decision as the present system of flood irrigation leads to soil degradation, water logging, increase in salinity and loss of water. Sugarcane is a water intensive crop and is grown in over 4.5 lakh hectares in the state. He said sugar mills have agreed to stand guarantee to farmers to avail loans to meet the project cost.
He said the state government would spend `1,500 crore by giving incentives to farmers to switch to drip irrigation. “Several financial institutions, including SBI, NABARD, Canara Bank and others have shown interest in participating in the programme,” he said.
Outlining the benefits of drip irrigation, Patil said the technology uses water efficiently, and gives better sugarcane yield and sugar recovery. Farmers also can reduce fertiliser use and improve the health of the soil. “This is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders in the sugar sector....The incremental benefit to farmers is estimated to be over `8,869 crore per year through additional sugar recovery of sugarcane procured per acre,” he said.
The cumulative incremental benefit to all the stakeholders is `34,133 crore (farmers - `8,869 crore, government - `20,266 crore and sugar mills - `4,998 crore), he added.
Floating Restaurant at KRS
Patil said the department has decided to construct a floating restaurant on the KRS backwaters. He said the department also plans to develop parks at Harangi, Hidkal, Kabini, Manchanabele, Yagachi and Nugu dam sites.