BHUBANESWAR: With many blocks still having less than 35 per cent irrigation coverage, the State Government has instructed the district collectors to take up construction of check dams under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The Government has fixed a target to construct 5,000 check dams by March and an equal number by June-end. The districts should plan to construct another 10,000 check dams by June, 2013.
The target for each junior engineer or gram panchayat technical assistant (GPTA) is 10 check dams by June failing which proceedings will be instituted against them, a Panchayati Raj Department circular said.
‘Selection of site should be in the areas where farmers are using traditional irrigation by constructing cross bunds on streams and where farmers are willing to take up operation and maintenance of the structures, the order said.
Emphasis should be given on technically feasible sites and engineering personnel of the local minor irrigation division should be consulted during site selection. Farmers likely to be benefited from the check dams should be involved from the beginning and formation of Pani Panchayats (water users’ association) is mandatory, the circular said.
‘Care should be taken that the newly constructed structures should not have any adverse impact on the hydrological efficiency of the existing irrigation projects,’ the Government communique said.
In case of perennial stream, nullah and water drainage system, the district collectors were asked to harness the irrigation potential by constructing a series of check dams.
The cost of each project should not exceed ` 5 lakh. However, in exceptional cases, the collectors may give approval for a maximum amount of ` 8 lakh, the Government order said adding, the maximum height of a check dam will be two metres.
The Government emphasised on crop planning in the areas likely to be covered under irrigation by involving the local agriculture and horticulture officials.
The check dam projects should be taken up through convergence of various schemes and programmes under agriculture technology management agency (ATMA), Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and National Horticulture Mission (NHM).
After completion of the projects, the check dams need to be handed over to the local farmer groups or pani panchayats for their management. The farmers should be encouraged to use plastic sheets in the irrigation field channels for judicious use of water.