Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Revival of Water Discharge to Nagi Lake at Namthang Under MGNREGA

Water Discharge
Water is the elixir of life in Earth serving all life forms in innumerable ways. However, pollution and environmental changes have led to calls for preservation of water resources. Joining the global water security efforts are the people of Namthang who decided to prioritize water preservation under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). They took a decision in 2010-11 to revive the Nagi Lake under NagiKarek Gram Panchayat Unit (GPU) from a perennial spring water source.
There are eight GPUs under the Namthang block and all are undertaking MGNREGA works. The implementation of MGNREGA in Namthang is not confined only to land development and rural connectivity but extends to the conservation and development of water source as the block is a drought prone area with negligible source of perennial water while the existing sources are on the verge of drying up. Keeping this in mind, it was decided to use MGNREGA to fill up Nagi Lake through spring water harvesting technology. This lake remained almost empty and also not in a proper condition for more than 25 years.

The Nagi area is located uphill and under MGNREGA, spring water from the nearest source of Harkate Chuba was channelized to the lake, 10 kms away. The main objective of this project is not confined only to fill up the lake but to conserve the moisture in soil by making seepage of water from it in order to achieve the target of maximum discharge of seasonal and perennial sources of its locality. Soon the lake got revived now benefitting about 1700 people of the nine villages.

The villagers have benefitted from the increase in discharge strength of the streams and springs in Namthang and its vicinity. Agriculture productivity has also increased and dry lands have now been brought under cultivation.

            Block Development Officer Robin Sewa mentioned that the lake revival programme is very successful and beneficial to the local people. This is serving as a very important water source in areas where there is shortage of water source or where the existing water source was nearing extinction, he said.

Commenting on the Nagi Lake one of the beneficiary villagers said: "We were badly facing water crisis, due to which our cultivation got ruined and it was a blow to our economy. Now the recharging of Nagi Lake has become the boon for us.  This scheme is very beneficial which gives us employment as well as asset for our society. " 
One can notice that the lake revival work has reinvigorated agriculture in the area. Farmers now do not have to fear that their cultivation would be ruined. They are happy that their days of water scarcity are over.
The artificial recharge of Nagi Lake has become a model project not only in the State but also in the country and abroad. Delegates from the National Level Monitoring Committee, Indian Institute of Management, Central Planning Commission and the State vigilance and monitoring committee have visited the lake and applauded the initiative taken under MGNREGA, said the Block Development Officer. A short documentary film was also made by a German team on this project, he added.
The Centrally sponsored poverty alleviation schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) are being successfully implemented inNamthang block of South Sikkim. This was endorsed when Chuba Phong Gram PanchayatUnit (GPU) of the block received the first National Award in MGNREGA from Sikkim in 2010-11.

The GPU received the award for constructing more than 60 tanks of 1,000 litercapacity for a rural household. Now the figure of this kind of tanks in Namthang has reached to 700. The tanks were filled with rain water and also from the perennial sources and have ensured rural water security. The project also brought about a transformation in the rural agrarian economy of the village.

The villagers are hopeful that with the kind of works undertaken under MGNREGA, they can get higher returns by way of crop production throughout the year, which would certainly uplift their economic prospect in the days to come.

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