In MP's parched Bundelkhand, village ponds returning to life in Chhatarpur dist

By Sandeep Pauranik

Bhopal/Chhatarpur, May 15 (IANS): As soon as summer approaches, Bundelkhand is in the news for the wrong reason - water scarcity.

With the help of NITI Aayog, efforts are on to change the picture of Bundelkhand's Chattarpur district by reviving the village ponds, and if the efforts are successful, then it can serve as an example for the entire country.

Chhatarpur, which was once famous for its water structures, is now known as an area facing a water crisis. And the major reason for it is the drying up of the water bodies in the district.

The NITI Aayog has chosen to revive 168 ponds in two districts, Rajgarh and Chhatarpur, and the work is scheduled to be completed in June.

The ponds which have been chosen by NITI Aayog for revival now appear as plain grounds.

The ponds are filled with silt due to which their water storage capacity has reduced. However, this silt is good for agricultural fields as it works as a good fertiliser. Now with the farmers' support, work is on for deepening of the ponds.

The farmers are carrying away the silt for their fields.

One such pond is in Gahvara village in Gaurihaar block. As per parameters set by the NITI Aayog, deepening of the water body has started with the help of a JCB and the farmers are carrying this silt to their farms.

Pond management committee president Shiv Shukla said that carrying the silt to the farms will not only increase the land's productivity but also reduce the water needed for irrigation.

Bharat Pathak, National Convener, National Mission for Clean Ganga, who was here to review the ponds' deepening exercise, said that as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi's desire, NITI Aayog has started digging up the ponds. The campaign is being run in those gram panchayats which are under the aspirational districts.

The water storage capacity of a pond decreases because the soil flows into the water body from the nearby areas. Efforts are being made to remove the silt and increase the water storage capacity of the ponds.

Gahvara gram panchayat sarpanch Kamal Shukla said that ponds are being dug in his village under the campaign "Catch The Rain".

Rambabu Tiwari, who has been working for water conservation in Bundelkhand, said that reviving ponds in 168 districts will become the main medium of changing the situation in the area.

This work is being done by non political organisations on the directions of NITI Aayog. All the villagers are taking part in it.



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