Declare Dakshina Kannada as a drought-hit area

12:40 PM, Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

zpmeetingMangaluru : Members, cutting across party lines, urged Zilla Panchayat to construct check dams and percolation pits to recharge groundwater in Dakshina Kannada district.

Taking part in a Zilla Panchayat meeting here on Monday, the members said the deficit rainfall has failed to recharge the groundwater resources.

The district’s water level is fast depleting and adding to the burden of the surface water resources in quenching the thirst of the growing population. The work to increase the groundwater can be taken up under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on a priority basis, they said.

Members Asha Thimmappa Gowda and Mamatha Gatti said that a series of check dams should be constructed across the water bodies in the district.

Member S N Mamatha said the state government has lifted the ban on sinking of borewells by individuals in Mangaluru, Bantwal, Belthangady and Sullia taluks and obtaining no objection certificate from the local body concerned is mandatory. The increase in drilling borewells in villages should be arrested to check over exploitation of groundwater table. “If borewells are sunk rampantly, then water crisis in the district will aggravate in the future,” she expressed concern.

Zilla Panchayat president Meenakshi Shanthigodu urged the government to declare Dakshina Kannada as a drought-hit district and also to allow sinking of borewells in Puttur taluk. In addition, farm ponds should be dug in all the households wherever the land is available to allow the percolation of water to recharge groundwater, she added.

Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr M R Ravi said borewells should not be within 500 metre of any public drinking water source. If any unauthorised borewells are sunk, then it should be brought to the notice of the concerned authorities, he said.

Ravi said the state government has already declared two taluks, Mangaluru and Bantwal, as drought-hit. There is a need to chalk out plans to utilise surface water to the fullest rather than overexploitation of ground water, he felt.

He said the drilling of borewells should be taken up as a last resort to mitigate the drinking water shortage. “The Zilla Panchayat has submitted a proposal seeking additional funds to take up relief works in the drought-hit Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks. In addition, a proposal for Rs 15 crore has been submitted to rejuvenate lakes under Kere Sanjeevini Scheme in the taluks, he added.

To take up works related to emergency drinking water needs, the state government has released an additional fund of Rs 260 lakh. Accordingly, the funds have been released in the following manner:  Bantwal constituency—Rs 40 lakh, Belthangady—Rs 30 lakh, Mangaluru North—Rs 40 lakh, Mangaluru—Rs 40 lakh, Moodbidri—Rs 40 lakh, Puttur—Rs 40 lakh and Sullia—Rs 30 lakh. In addition, the government has released a special grant of Rs 50 lakh to the Zilla Panchayat to take up urgent works, he added.

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