Following Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s letter to the Prime Minister seeking inclusion in the recently launched Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, too, has shot a letter, seeking inclusion of his state in the scheme.
On December 25, on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) in the country. The scheme, which has groundwater management at its core, will encourage behavioural change at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management. The scheme will be implemented in seven states in the country namely Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and is expected to benefit nearly 8,350 gram panchayats in 78 districts in these states.
In Tamil Nadu, several districts, including Chennai, reeled under severe water crisis this summer. Pointing out that Tamil Nadu is a water-stressed state, the CM wrote that the unpredictable nature of the monsoons has made the state dependent on groundwater, thereby leading to its depletion in the state. “A total number of 541 firkas (revenue areas) out of 1,166 firkas in the state fall under ‘critical’ and ‘over-exploited’ categories,” he said in the letter.
The CM elaborated that the state has implemented a number of schemes for improving its water resources, including the Kudimaramath scheme with farmers participation, construction of check dams, artificial recharge structures and rejuvenation of rivers and water bodies, among others. “An innovative mission called ‘Tamil Nadu Water Resources Conservation and Augmentation Mission’ has been launched as peoples' movement by Tamil Nadu government to protect, preserve and augment water resources in the state,” he added.
“In these circumstances, I request you to kindly instruct the Ministry of Jal Shakti to include the state of Tamil Nadu in the scheme of Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL), so that groundwater resources of Tamil Nadu can be further augmented,” reads the letter.
Atal Bhujal Yojana is a Rs 6,000 crore project and will be implemented over a period of five years between 2020 and 2025.