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Water dept to focus on Jal Dharo Jal Bharo & Matir Shristi schemes

KOLKATA: State Water Resources Investigation & Development (WRI&D) department will explore means to bring more innovations into its 'Jal Dharo Jal Bharo' project and at the same time lay stress on convergence with line departments like Fisheries, Land & Land Reforms, Horticulture, Social Forestry, Animal Husbandry, etc for successful implementation of Matir Shristi scheme introduced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in May last year.

WRI&D minister Manas Ranjan Bhunia on Thursday took charge of his office for the first time and held a marathon meeting with senior officials of the department in presence of Principal Secretary PK Mishra and reviewed the various schemes under execution.

"Our department is the nodal department for Matir Shristi scheme that is aimed at commercially utilising fallow land through horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries etc and ensure additional income generation for the farmers and economic upliftment of the community.

"For this, convergence with the line departments is of utmost importance and we have to lay emphasis on this," a senior official of the department said.

This project has been taken up in six western districts, including Bankura, West Midnapore, Jhargram, West Burdwan, Purulia and Birbhum.

The department is also executing a number of projects through funds from World Bank. "We will have to properly consolidate water and channelise it for economic development which we will start doing seriously," he added.

Presently, out of 52.37 hectares of agricultural land in the state, 70 per cent water for irrigation is provided by WRI&D department and the remaining 30 per cent by the Irrigation department.

River lift irrigation, deep tubewell irrigation, medium deep tubewell irrigation and channel irrigation are the various techniques through which the department supplies water for irrigation.

"Overflowing of surface water is a major problem in our state as with 70 per cent of our rivers flowing into the Bay of Bengal.

"Our priority will be to use this water for irrigation and utilise it for drinking water too. The department has already started working on this," the minister said.

There are 342 blocks in the state out of which 30 blocks suffer from major water level depletion issues. Another 32 blocks suffer from reasonable water depletion.

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