Paddy farmers of Khanapur taluk of Belgaum district, Karnataka were seen following the trend of quitting agriculture and working in brick manufacturing factories. Most of them were doing it due to scarcity of water in summer, especially in last decade.
But the efforts of the agriculture department have ensured better farming and managed to help farmers for keeping agriculture profession throughout the year. Department's 'Jalamrut' programme is behind this change.
Jalamrut is responsible to increase groundwater level and convert barren land into irrigated ones. Initially they started on an experimental basis and work in selected villages of Chinchewadi, Devrai, Ghotagali, TeerthKundaye and Kodachwad.
Now the department is planning to expand it to other districts too. Zilla Panchayat CEO Goutam Bagadi said cooperation from the villagers ensured the success of the project.
In Chinchewadi village alone, about 500 acres of barren land has been converted into irrigated land, a dried lake was refilled with water and a dam was constructed to store water.
After the village was selected under the project, officials identified the major water sources and storage points. Two lakes of 150 meter length, 50 meter width and 5 feet depth were made for purpose in expense of Rs 15 lakh.
During monsoon, the lakes were filled, and due to water filled lakes, its storage, water level in open wells and bore-wells increased. The villagers are sure of having high yield this year, said the department official.
DB Chavan, assistant director of agriculture department said, "The programme aims to store water for agriculture effectively, increase groundwater level, help farmers take up commercial crops during summer, besides solving drinking water problems."