Changing the face of drought-prone region
Securing the livelihood of farmers in Janagaon, predominantly a drought-prone region, is not all that easy. Yet, kudos to the Janagaon district administration, which constructed 2,900 farm ponds in the last fiscal, today there is ample scope for sustenance among farmers who had been weathering unpredictable rain pattern all these years.
Janagaon: Securing the livelihood of farmers in Janagaon, predominantly a drought-prone region, is not all that easy. Yet, kudos to the Janagaon district administration, which constructed 2,900 farm ponds in the last fiscal, today there is ample scope for sustenance among farmers who had been weathering unpredictable rain pattern all these years.
Adept use of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) funds by the district administration over the last couple of years has made all the difference, enabling farmers to tide over drought in the district, especially in Bachchannapet, Station Ghanpur and Narmetta mandals, which are known for recording scanty rainfall year after year.
At least 88 per cent of the NREGS funds have been utilised for undertaking soil and moisture conservation practices since 2016-17. For this year, the plan is to construct around 10,000 farm ponds across the district. Work on the construction of 850 of these ponds is over. Work on 6,750 other ponds is in various stages.
During a visit to the Bachchannapet mandal on Friday, this correspondent observed the stupendous success of farm ponds in the region. This is significant, considering that 15 of the 21 villages under the Bachchannapet mandal were declared as ‘overexploited’ last year, according to the Central Ground Water Board authorities.
The farm pond on the 4-acre field of Purma Sudhakar Reddy of Kodavatur village is already half-filled following just one heavy rain. Reddy says that one more rain could fill the pond to brim and the water would be sufficient till December.
Another farmer, M Mallaiah, whose pond was dug using NREGS funds, says that he has no worry about managing his field during the Rabi season.
According to M Ashok, NREGS field assistant, the village has 90 ponds in all, dug at a total cost of Rs. 36 lakh.A few kilometers away in Banda Nagaram, a village nominated for the Central Government’ NREGS award, its sarpanch K Srilatha says that they have 106 farm ponds, covering 3,400 acres. Following the construction of ponds, they have witnessed an increase in groundwater levels.
District Rural Development Officer M Jayachandra Reddy says: “The administration is in a campaign mode to encourage farm ponds. Seeing the success, villagers are voluntarily coming forward to spare some space for farm ponds.”
The average groundwater level for Janagaon district last year was 16.77 meters below ground level (BGL), whereas it is 11.48 meters this year.
After all, in the erstwhile district of Warangal, Janagaon region had played a stellar role in getting the national-level award in the construction of farm ponds.
By Adepu Mahender