UP to replicate Maharashtra's Sujalam Suphalam drought model in Bundelkhand

File photo of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Photo: PTI
Uttar Pradesh government is planning to replicate the drought control model of Maharashtra to deal with water scarcity in Bundelkhand.

Maharashtra government has implemented ‘Sujalam Suphalam’ programme in consort with non-government organisations (NGOs), local communities and the private sector against the challenges of drought and scarcity of water resources in some districts.

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday directed officials to implement ‘Sujalam Suphalam’ scheme in the Mahoba and Hamirpur districts of arid zone of Bundelkhand. Depending upon its success, the programme would then be extended to the entire Bundelkhand comprising of 7 districts; the remaining five being Lalitpur, Jhansi, Jaluan, Banda and Chitrakoot. In fact, the model could even be integrated with other water-related projects in the future.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and other central and state officials were also present on the occasion, where the CM was briefed on ‘Sajalam Suphalam’, which is implemented by coordinating with the local administration in areas facing acute shortage of water.

Under the programme, the exact location for the construction of watershed structures, including dams, ponds, percolation ponds and farm ponds is identified. Later, the necessary administrative and technical approvals are taken before machines are deployed for digging. The existing water bodies are also rid of silt, while the canals are widened and deepened to increase their storage capacity.

The excavated silt is taken away by farmers to their agricultural farms. This way, not only water bodies get created for irrigation purposes, but the programme also creates new farmland by treating barren land.

Meanwhile, Adityanath claimed his government had been working on projects to deal with water shortage in Bundelkhand, including ensuring adequate water in the rivers and recharging the ground water table. The state is also mulling constructing large recharge ponds in the vicinity of major rivers. Besides, plans are afoot to revive 6 dying river bodies in the state.

The CM claimed the government had launched these projects after coming to power last year itself.

Meanwhile, the state had also tied up with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) for experimenting with the artificial rain technology in Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal regions.

While, cloud seeding has long been employed in USA, Israel, China, South Africa and some Arab countries, the indigenous IIT-K technology is cheap and conducive to local topography. Cloud seeding over an area of 1,000 sq km is estimated to cost nearly Rs 55 million, while comparative foreign technologies cost twice as much.

The project is piloted by IIT-K departments of aerospace, civil engineering and industrial management engineering. Cloud seeding is an artificial way to induce moisture in clouds and cause downpour. Silver iodide or dry ice is dumped onto clouds by using an aircraft or an artillery gun to cause rainfall.

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