Uttar Pradesh government is preparing a blueprint to recharge dry streams and rivers in the state. The rural development department has been directed to survey streams/tributaries and water bodies, which have dried up over the years.
The job of recharging/re-energising dry streams and water bodies would be allocated under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
UP agricultural production commissioner Alok Ranjan has directed officials for the survey and action plan. The state is buoyed with the success of a similar project in Fatehpur district, where Sasur Khaderi river, a tributary of Yamuna, was recharged with deft planning. The two streams of Sasur Khaderi river, having combined length of 46 km, are spread across four blocks of Fatehpur.
However, the river lacked sufficient depth at places, while its banks had vanished at numerous stretches. This had endangered the existence of the river and caused marooning of farmland and depletion of groundwater level in catchments.
Subsequently, a comprehensive action plan of about Rs 13 crore was drawn up. MGNREGA additional commissioner Ranjan Kumar said 1,000-1,500 labourers were engaged in the project on a daily basis.
The river project created 97,000 man days and 1.87 lakh cubic metres of silt was removed from the riverbed and banks. Similarly, the pond project created 38,000 man days and led to removal of 78,200 cubic metres of silt.
The project resolved the problem of perennial marooning of agricultural land and resulted in extensive sowing of paddy this season. The pond is also recharged with 90,000 cusecs of rainwater, he informed.
Kumar said Sasur Khaderi project had not only emerged as an example for other states, the Centre has lauded the efforts.
The centrally sponsored MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household volunteering for unskilled manual work. Over 50 per cent of MGNREGA jobs are related to water conservation.