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Karnataka plans to bring sugarcane area under drip irrigation

Scheme will help state save around 186 TMC feet water annually

BS Reporter  |  Bengaluru 

In an effort to improve water use efficiency, the government of Karnataka proposes to undertake massive drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation projects in the state. The government is working on an ambitious programme to bring sugarcane area of 434,000 hectares in the state under drip irrigation in the next three years.

“We are actively considering the proposal to make it mandatory for the sugarcane farmers to adopt drip irrigation system so that an enormous quantity of water could be saved across the state,” M B Patil, minister for irrigation, said.

In the years to come, over 650,000 hectares covered by the irrigation projects will be covered by drip irrigation across the state, thereby bringing a large area under micro irrigation. This will not only help save water but also prevent soil salinity and water logging due to floods and reduce consumption of fertiliser, Patil said at the inauguration of Resources Centre on Water Use Efficiency in Delhi on Wednesday.

He said, work on the drip irrigation under the Ramthal Marol Stage-II lift irrigation scheme over 24,000 hectares was in progress and it is targeted for completion in April 2015. “An Agro Corridor is envisaged in the areas where micro irrigation is adopted and we propose to have a special Global Investors Meet (GIM) to attract agro-based industries,” Patil said.

By adopting drip irrigation scheme across the sugarcane areas, farmers will be able to achieve huge water savings and thus the saved water would mitigate water scarcity of the irrigation projects, he added.

“It is estimated that cumulative incremental value creation over a span of three years will be a whopping Rs 18,369 crore for all the stakeholders (farmers, sugar mills and government) in addition to the huge savings of water to the tune of 186 TMC every year,” the minister said.

The cost of implementing drip irrigation is estimated at Rs 40,000 per acre for sugarcane farmers. The government is planning to extend a 25 per cent subsidy for the scheme.

The state government is also implementing the ‘Karnataka Integrated and sustainable water Resources Management Investment Programme’ with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the Tungabhadra sub-basin. It is a seven year programme involving an investment of $225 million. The activities planned include modernisation, institutional strengthening, river basin planning, MIS implementation and capacity building by IWRM certification programme for WRD Engineers.

Capacity building for farmers has also been proposed through the Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) and Command Area Development Authority (CADA) in water resource management.

Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL) has also implemented a canal top 1 Mw solar photo voltaic power project on a pilot-basis on the Almatti Right Bank Canal of Upper Krishna Project (UKP), a first of its kind in South India. This project will facilitate improving water use efficiency and addressing water-energy-food nexus, the minister added.

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First Published: Thu, January 15 2015. 20:34 IST