PM calls upon people to make water conservation a collective responsibility

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 29, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said in his customary radio address Mann Ki Baat that conservation of water must be a collective responsibility. He said an average of Rs 32,000 crore has been spent, besides the MNREGA budget, each year on water conservation and water management. "If we talk of 2017-18, 55 per cent of the total outlay of Rs 64,000 crores, which comes to around Rs 35,000 crores, has been spent on works such as water conservation. In the last three years, nearly 150 lakh hectares of land got more benefit through water conservation and water management measures," the Prime Minister said.

He added that some people have benefitted from MNREGA budget provisions made by the Centre for water conservation and water management works. "A project for reviving rivers that had dried up was undertaken in Kerala. Seven thousand workers under MNREGA worked hard for 70 days and finally succeeded in reviving the Kuttumperoor river there," Modi said.

He said the Ganga and Yamuna rivers have plentiful of water but there are many other places in Uttar Pradesh like Fatehpur district, where two small rivers, namely the Sasur-Khaderi got dried out. "After receiving reports of Remote Sensing Imagery and Inter Department Coordination, the district administration took up soil and water conservation on a massive scale. They succeeded in reviving the dried out Sasur Khaderi river with the help and cooperation of people from 40-45 villages in the area. This grand achievement is a big boon for animals, birds, farmers, crops and villages," he said.

He said once again April, May, June and July are before the country and everyone must take up some responsibility for water harvesting and water conservation. "We should also chalk out some schemes, we should also do and show something," he said.

"Those of you who have had the chance to visit Tamil Nadu might have noticed that in some temples in the state, there are carvings on stone depicting irrigation systems, water conservation methods and drought management. There are vast stone inscriptions in these temples and devotees get a chance to read these educative messages. May it be Mannarkovil, Chiran Mahadevi, Kovilpatti or Pudukottai – you will get to see massive stone inscriptions to this effect. Several baodis (stepwells) are famous as tourist spots, but please do not forget that these are the living symbols of water conservation campaigns that our forefathers had accomplished," the PM said.

"April, May, June and July is the most suitable time when rain water harvesting can be done and if we make preparations in advance, we can reap a rich harvest. Budget under MNREGA is also utilised for this water conservation activity," he said.

Citing an example of some farmers from Uttarakhand, he said with collective effort and cooperative societies, the lives of farmers can be changed. "In Bageshwar in Uttarakhand, the main crops sown are Mandwa, Chaulai, Corn or Barley. This being a hilly area, the farmers did not get a fair price for their produce. But, the farmers in Kapkot tehsil decided to come out of this situation and adopted a value-addition process that changed the loss-incurring equation into a profit-earning one. What they did was they started making biscuits from their agricultural produce and sold the biscuits directly in the market. Consequently, Chaulai, which the farmers were forced to sell at Rs 25 per kg, was now selling at Rs 50 per kg as biscuits," he said.

Published on April 29, 2018

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