Project under Global Grant for Watershed Management at Yavatmal district
Vidarbha region of Maharashtra (of which Nagpur is a major city) has, for various reasons, remained backward industrially as well as agriculturally. Livelihood of around 65% rural population of this region is dependent on agriculture and allied activities. However, agriculture in this region is comparatively less productive than the State and National averages. Cotton is the most important cash crop of western Vidarbha region. Eight of eleven districts of Vidarbha are primarily cotton growing. However, with about 400-900 mm of annual rainfall and very limited irrigation facilities at disposal, cotton farmers are often exposed to higher risks that many a times result in loss of income. Acute water scarcity in Vidarbha region has resulted in stress amongst the farmers. The region is dependent on monsoon rains for agriculture. Lack of irrigation and credit facility has resulted in farmer's suicide. More than 600 farmers have committed suicide in this and adjoining region.
As many as 95 of the 277 suicide cases registered up to March since January this year in the six cotton and soybean producing districts of western Vidarbha - considered most suicide prone - were from Yavatmal. The biggest reason behind farmer suicide has been attributed to farming related problems.
Today major causes of agrarian distresses in the projects villages are as under:
• Erratic Rainfall Patterns
• Top soil erosion
• Long dry spell during monsoon season lasting between 15 days to 30 Days.
• Change in water requirement duration due to introduction of BT and Hybrid varieties of Seeds.
• Considerable reduction in storage capacity of existing reservoir and water streams due to yearlong deposition of fertile soil, and finally
• Lack of formal credit resulting in farmers approaching money lenders
This clearly illustrates the problems with making farming profitable through reliable irrigational facilities. Hence it is very necessary to create irrigation infrastructure development that will enhance crop productivity of large section of rain fed farmer community. The project is aimed at water management through indigenous method of Doha Model (A Saucer shaped structure within the canal). This process ensures that the water is available during long dry spells in between monsoon and long after rains are over so that possibility of third crop can also be explored.
This project to be developed in village Jalka & Ravar at Yavatmal District will help irrigate approx. 775 Hectares of land. Currently only 56 hectares of agricultural land is irrigated. Rest is rain fed. The project will help around 800 households, population of more than 4000 and approx 3200 cattle's. These are direct beneficiaries. Apart from this rise in water table and recharge of wells will have many more indirect beneficiaries. The best part is that this project is expected to benefit for at least next 15 years, as the major problem of deposit of silt does not occur in 'Doha' model. Since the project will be taken up in summers (March/April/May), which are typically low activity months for farmers, this project will also provide some economic incentive during the execution phase. The project involves construction of low cost water harvesting structure in beds of natural streams. Construction of 20 water harvesting structures, supply of 10 water lifting pumps and supply of 10 sets of efficient water devices.
Project Cost and Timeline:
We intend to start this project latest by 15th January 2016 so as to complete the project before onset of Monsoon in Mid June. Total project cost is Rs 21 Lakhs (approx USD 32,000)
Rotary Club of Nagpur (www.rotaryclubofnagpur.org) is one of the premier service organizations of the city. Having established in 1944 it is doing a yeomen's service. The club plans to carry out this project with Dilasa, an NGO based in Yavatmal district (www.dilasa.org) Dilasa has been working since 1995. It works towards holistic development of the downtrodden and deprived sections of the society. It has been able to reach out to 59000 beneficiaries from 1200 village across Vidarbha & Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Axis Bank Foundation, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust & NABARD are actively associated with Dilasa.