The Karnataka government has urged the Centre to release Rs 548 crore for completion of 475 minor irrigation projects identified much before the merger of the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) with the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).
The completion of these works will provide a fresh irrigation potential in an area spreading over 33,868 hectares and also replenish the ground water levels, it said.
The Centre had in 1996-97 launched AIBP to provide central loan assistance to major/medium irrigation projects in the country. The loan facilities were later extended to minor irrigation works as well in only arid zones of Karnataka.
However, in the current fiscal, the NDA government merged AIBP and other irrigation related schemes under the PMKSY for better and speedy implementation of irrigation works. The modified guidelines for PMKSY have also been issued now.
"Prior to the issuing of these guidelines, the Minor Irrigation Department of Karnataka had identified 475 sites to construct barrages and vented dams costing Rs 547.64 crore in compliance with earlier guidelines of AIBP," State Minor Irrigation Minister T B Jayachandra said.
In a representation made to both Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati and Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh last week, Jayachandra said the emphasis should be laid on construction of minor irrigation works as they can be completed in short duration and at minimal costs.
The state government has prepared Detail Project Reports (DPRs) of 475 projects as per the PMKSY norms and have been scrutinised by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of PMKSY as well as the Central Water Commission (CWC).
"The proposals are ready for approval and it is requested to accord approval to Rs 475 projects costing Rs 547.64 crore as a special case," he said.
Earlier, the proposals were forwarded to the government of India for clearance and release of grants under AIBP. "Due to the modification in the scheme, and merging of AIBP with PMKSY, the proposal of Karnataka has been returned," he said.
These projects being small in nature do not have any adverse environmental impact and do not need any environmental clearances. Apart from catering to agricultural needs, these structures also assist recharge of ground water and will be helpful in mitigating drinking water needs during drought, he added.