BANGALORE: The state government has decided to rejuvenate the Vedavathi river in Chikmagalur district, which dries up during summer, by utilising funds from the MGNREGA scheme.
According to official sources, the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) has drawn up a plan in this regard.
Prabhash Chandra Ray, Special Commissioner (Forest), RDPR, told Express that the department has taken up the project which will provide employment to over 1,000 MGNREGA workers in over 10 villages in the river’s basin. He said that the river, which originates near Trilangeshwar Temple in Hoskote village of Lakya Hobli in Chikmagalur district, flows for over 100 km through Devanur, Madapura, Adigere, Hosadurga before reaching Vanivilas Sagar Dam in Hiriyur taluk in Tumkur district. It then enters Andhra Pradesh.
In the last 20 years, the river has been flowing in full splendour only during the rainy season. It remains dry in summer due to over exploitation of water resources and unplanned development, he said. Residents in over 10 villages face acute shortage of water as nearly 90 per cent of borewells in this region dry up in summers.
He said the department has shown interest in the project, which was originally envisaged by an NGO, Vaikthi Vikas Kendra, and approved a `6.2 crore plan. He said that the NGO had earlier conducted a comprehensive survey with the support of a team of geologists. Using satellite imagery, a waterbody map of the region was drawn up by the technical team.
The plan includes construction of over 810 water harvesting structures like percolation wells, injection wells and ponds. Stating that the construction work was initiated in May this year, he said that nearly 50 per cent of the planned 810 water harvesting structures have been completed and all the structures in Phase I will be completed by September end. Two more phases of the project will be taken up, including planting of over 1,50,000 saplings, he said.
Ray said that the aim of the project is to take up afforestation and other water conservation activities to ensure that the river flows throughout the year by 2015-16. He said that the execution of this ambitious project, expected to generate over 1.84 lakh mandays of labour, will be monitored by the department and only local residents will be roped in to complete the works.