Punjab Soil & Water Conservation Minister S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra, on Thursday, laid foundation stone of state’s largest irrigation project aimed at utilizing 27 MLD (Million liter per day) of treated water from the Sewage Treatment Plant Moga, on the occasion of 54th anniversary of the Department of Soil & Water Conservation. The project will benefit agricultural fields of four nearby villages.
The Cabinet Minister, while addressing the farmers after laying the foundation stone, said that Chief Minister S. Bhagwant Singh Mann led government under its efforts aimed at preventing further depletion of underground water and to reduce the agricultural input costs for the farmers, has set target to double the treated water usage to 600 MLD by end of current financial year, thus benefitting 20,000 hectares of agriculture land. The state is at present utilizing 320 MLD for irrigation, he added.
Lauding the efforts of department, S. Chetan Singh Jauramajra informed that this is till date the biggest treated water irrigation project of the state being built at the total cost of Rs.12.87-CR and benefiting more than 1000 hectares of agricultural land of 1100 farmer households.
The Soil and Water Conservation Minister also emphasized that to mitigate the threat of water scarcity and desertification, which is likely to witnessed in next 20-25 years in the state at present water consumptions level, we must immediately adopt low water requiring diversified cropping patterns and intelligent irrigation techniques so that we and our upcoming generations may never witness dry taps.
S. Jauramajra said, groundwater resources of the state are declining at an alarming rate with 117 out of 150 blocks comprising nearly 80% of state’s geographical area already under over-exploited category, stressing on need to develop such kind of alternate surface water-based irrigation water sources and also maximizing canal water usage to arrest declining groundwater resources of the state. The utilization of treated wastewater from the STPs not only aligns with the government’s mission of water conservation but also benefits the farmers by reducing fertilizer requirement as the treated waste water is rich in nutrients, which will reduce input cost in farming thus enhancing farmer income, he added. The Cabinet Minister urged farmers to vacate the illegal encroachments from the watercourses since these watercourses are essential for supplying water to their fields.
Speaking on the occasion, MLA Moga Dr. Amandeep Kaur Arora said this treated water, which would have otherwise gone waste into drains, will now not only ensure round the year irrigation to more than one-thousand-hectare agricultural land but will also benefit the state in cutting electricity subsidy due to reduced usage of tubewells in the command area. She thanked the farmer community of the Ajit Garh, Bukkanwala, Singhawala and Ghall Kalan village in cooperating in planning of this project and asked the department to ensure project is completed in a time bound manner. MLA Dharamkot S. Devinderjit Singh Laddi Dhos also thanked the state government and cabinet minister for approving such a project in Dharamkot constituency.
S. Mohinder Singh Saini, Chief Conservator of Soils Punjab informed said that the department has till date commissioned 58 such treated water irrigation projects benefitting more than 10,000 hectares of agricultural land. While sharing technical details of project, he informed that project is being constructed under NABARD assisted Rural Infrastructure Development Funds at total cost of Rs.12.87 crore. Under this project approximately 25 km of underground pipeline of diameter 630 mm, 500mm, 355 mm and 200 mm will be laid benefiting 1,020 hectares agricultural land of 1100 farmer households. He also informed about various other farmer centric services being offered by Government for adopting efficient irrigation techniques. Farming community of Ajit Garh, Bukkanwala, Singhawala and Ghall Kalan village, present on the occasion, lauded the efforts of state Government’s for bringing this project to the area