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Harsimrat wants Punjab to be included in Atal Bhujal Yojana

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Press Trust of India Chandigarh
Amid concerns of depleting ground water table in Punjab, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has urged Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to include the state in the 'Atal Bhujal Yojana', a scheme to tackle the widespread problem.
The Centre had recently launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana, a scheme for sustainable management of ground water resources and it would cover 8,350 villages of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter to the Jal Shakti minister, Badal said the paddy cultivation in Punjab over the years has led to a drastic depletion of water table in the state.
The cultivation of paddy is water intensive... in the process, the ground water sources have been strained to the extent that the entire state now falls in the dark zone due to the depleting water table. In effect, Punjab has been over exploiting its water resources to fulfil the need of the rest of the country, wrote Badal.
As water table in Punjab is falling further, desperate farmers are digging deeper, getting trapped in debt and depleting aquifers, she wrote, stressing that there was a need for a comprehensive ground water management programme in Punjab.
She further wrote that the principal objective of the Atal Bhujal Yojana', which was launched recently, is to strengthen the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and to bring about behavioural changes at the community level.
The vision of the scheme is in line with the urgent intervention required in the state of Punjab. However, the scheme does not cover the state of Punjab in the first phase, she wrote in the letter which she also shared on her Twitter handle.
She urged the Union Jal Shakti minister to bring Punjab under this scheme. It will not only save Punjab from a looming disaster but will benefit the country in terms of continued contribution towards food security, Badal wrote.

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First Published: Dec 31 2019 | 9:00 PM IST

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