₹948.50 cr. to be spent to improve groundwater level in rural areas

Construction of 10,000 check-dams is among the schemes

To create villages that can tackle climate changes, Rural Development Minister K.R. Periakaruppan on Tuesday announced schemes entailing an investment of ₹948.50 crore for improving the groundwater level in rural areas.

He said schemes for the current year included the construction of 10,000 check-dams, 25,500 community percolation pits for recharging watertable with treated sewage from houses and 1,75,000 individual percolation pits, besides the planting of 68 lakh saplings.

Mr. Periakaruppan said 500 community wells and 1,500 individual ones would be dug at a cost of ₹200.5 crore to meet the water requirements for irrigation.

“As the development of roads is important for rural development, the government will lay 5,780 km of village panchayat and panchayat union roads and construct 121 bridges at a cost of ₹2,097 crore in the current year,” he said, replying to the debate on the demand for grants for his Department in the Assembly.

He said the AIADMK ruled the State for 30 years, during which local bodies remained without elected representatives for 18 years. “The State could not get funds from the Union government because of its failure to conduct local bodies elections,” he said.

The Minister also announced a training programme for members of the women SHGs to study and ensure the quality of drinking water from the source to the reaching point. As many as 62,625 women from 12,525 panchayats would be trained at a cost of ₹10.92 crore. Besides, selected women SHGs in panchayats would be trained in maintaining resource inventory registers to protect biodiversity.

He said houses at Samathuvapurams would be refurbished, and 12,525 libraries, created under the Anna Marumalarchi Scheme, would be renovated under scheme-II. The government would also lay 1,000 km of cement concrete roads and 600 km of paver-block roads, construct 350 km of concrete drainages and improve 500 graveyards and burial grounds. The project cost would be ₹916.75 crore.

He increased the honorarium for panchayat presidents from ₹1,000 to ₹2,000. The Model Panchayat Award will be given to one panchayat each in 37 districts that excel in sanitation. The award will carry ₹7.5 lakh and a shield. Three panchayats that perform well at the district level also will get a Model Panchayat Award, which includes ₹15 lakh and a shield.

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