Depleting water table in Punjab has been a serious concern since past few years. Most of the people in state are agriculture dependent and largely use the ground water for raising their crops. The state has been facing agrarian crisis for quite some time due to issues like this. The Punjab Government has been taking steps solve agriculture related issues and is keen on helping the state to revive its water table.
In a recent move, Rs.120 crore has been set aside by the government for a new project called Underground Pipeline System (UGPS). This project has been highly successful over time and is used for efficient use of water resources by developed countries. In the current financial year, an outlay of Rs. 15 crore has been provided to cover area of 14000 hectare under this project. This project is expected to successfully solve the problems of ground water depletion in central Punjab, scarce water resources in the northern sub-mountainous belt and brackish groundwater in the south-western part of the state.
These systems are known to save water and also are highly successful in improving yield and quality of farm produce. The project has been initiated by the Department of Soil & Water Conservation, Punjab and is a three-year development project. It is aimed at judicious use of available irrigation water from surface & subsurface water resources. Further, the state government has also planned a comprehensive irrigation program under which two-tier subsidy will be given.
The project will be publicized through village Panchayats, Soil Conservation and Agriculture Department extension workers and also through print and electronic media. More than 35027 hectares area across Punjab shall benefit from this project. The major benefit from it will be the socio-economic upliftment of the assisting SC/small/ marginal farmers by assured irrigation and the subsequent strengthening of farm production systems for a better yield. Other than that, it will also help in rehabilitation of the environment by facilitating ground water recharge and curbing salivation of the soil.
Implementation of UGPS and rain water harvesting projects will lead to increase in land value by at least 10%, prevent soil erosion, save a chunk of the labour cost and allow for an annual storage of more than 300 Ha-m of rainwater for irrigation. It can expected that the farmers of the state will soon be seeing good days with government taking serious steps to pull them out of agrarian crisis.