DHARWAD: The government has chalked out a special scheme to develop over 1,200 lakes in eight districts in a span of four years at a cost of Rs 306.98 crore. The Jala Samvardhana Yojana (JSY) will cover 1,224 lakes in Belgaum, Bijapur, Chikamagalur, Davanagere, Dharwad, Hassan, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts.
The state has over 36,000 lakes with a capacity to irrigate 6.85 lakh hectares of land. These tanks have also been the main source of water for animal husbandry, drinking water and underground water. But most of them are in bad state due to silt formation, encroachment and unscientific way of management.
The scheme, launched by the department of minor irrigation, aims at involving community in maintaining the lakes through formation of Lake Management Associations at the village level. These associations will, besides taking up measures to keep the lakes in good condition, employ locals belonging to economically weaker section.
K Uday Kumar, JSY district planning co-ordinator, said the World Bank-aided project implemented in the state in 2001 had shown good results. The action plan for another 1,224 lakes would ensure improvement in rural economy.
"The village panchayats concerned will have to contribute 12% of the lake development cost while 6% will be in the form of cash and the remaining should be in the form of labour," Kumar said. The Grama Sabhas should agree to contribute the amount so that lakes are included in the project.
The action plan involves creation of congenial atmosphere for participation of the community in lake management, taking up community development programmes to strengthen organizational set-up, physical development of lakes by way of repairs and construction, development of agriculture and horticulture in command area and development of fisheries in lakes among others.
The lake management societies comprising water users will be registered under Panchayat Raj Act. Once the lake is developed, the society concerned will have to maintain it. The district units of JSY, under the chairmanship of the respective DCs, will monitor the works of societies.
Kumar said the members of the society at village level will be educated and trained in lake management. A week-long special training camp began on Monday at Forest Training Institute in Gungaragatti near Dharwad.