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Telangana farmers to apply silt to farm lands

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Hyderabad: The peasant community is gearing up to prepare their farm lands for one more round of silt application, adding to soil fertility.

Over three crore cubic metres of silt will be collected from ponds, tanks and lakes all over the State as part of Mission Kakatiya Phase IV. Works pertaining to the programme are being grounded in a big way in both the Krishna and Godavari basin areas.

The tank silt is fine granular material derived from soils suspended as particulate matter in running water. It settles at the bottom of standing water bodies as fine sediment. In traditional Indian agricultural methods, silt gathered in village tanks and lakes was reapplied to fields to improve soil fertility. It helps in cutting down the use of chemical fertilisers of synthetic origin adding to soil degradation.

Farmers in Telangana were well versed with traditional practice of tanks silt application for restoring rich soil nutrients that sustain plant growth as well as yields, thanks to its splendid minor irrigation system that was supported by over 80,000 tanks. Though a good number of the tanks in the region are not traceable now, about 46,000 have been identified. As part of the gigantic exercise taken up for rejuvenation of all minor irrigation tanks, the government has been encouraging farmers once again in the direction of applying tank silt to enrich their farm lands.

Rich farmers had hitherto been using between 20-25 tractor loads of silt per acre of land for this purpose at their own cost. Thanks to Mission Kakatiya, now the facility is being extended to even small and marginal farmers. Once the tank silt is applied, the fertility levels would remain high for a period of two to three years.

The farmers tasted huge success with silt application that has been giving rich crop yields from past two years. Now there is huge demand in all the districts for silt removed from tanks and lakes. About 11 crore cubic metre of tanks silt was made available to farmers under Mission Kakatiya Phase I, 7.5 crore cubic metres under Phase II and 5 crore cubic metres under Phase III. In Phase IV, another 3 crore cubic metres of tank silt will be available for the farmers.

Application of tank silt in farms have been fetching numerous benefits to farmers and it resulted in significant reduction in expenditure on fertilizers, according to the findings of the NABCONS that conducted an impact assessment on Phase 1 of Mission Kakatiya. The Survey shows a decrease in consumption of chemical fertilizers by 35-50 per cent which helped in cutting expenditure on fertilizers by 27.6 per cent. The savings on expenditure per acre ranged from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 per season depending on the crop. Further, the tank silt application contributed to increase in crop yields, reduction of soil erosion and increase in soil moisture retention. Nabard is one of the organisations that came forward to fund the Mission Kakatiya Phase-I.

Major beneficiaries of this exercise will be the ayacutdars under the Krishna basin where in 3,284 minor irrigation tanks had estimates submitted for rejuvenation works.

Grounding of works under Mission Kakatiya Phase IV has gained momentum all over the State. The tender process for nearly 90 per cent tanks that have been accorded administrative approval has already been completed. The Minor irrigation Department is going all out to step up the process for completion of agreements as well as grounding.

As on January 27, estimates pertaining to 5,401 tanks were submitted to the government. As many as 3,284 tanks for which estimates were submitted are from Krishna river basin, while the rest are from Godavari basin. Administrative sanctions have been accorded for 2,809 tanks and tenders called for 2,342 tanks. Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao focused his attention on grounding of the works in a big way by involving elected representatives including Ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, ZP Chairpersons and others.

Administration in the districts concerned were tasked with creating awareness among the farmers and the public in general on the need for application of tank silt to improve the fertility in their farm lands. Besides rejuvenation and revival of minor irrigation and village tanks under MK-4, the current phase of the programme would also focus on stabilisation of existing ayacut and creation of new ayacut under the existing tanks. The government has sanctioned some 35 new tanks to be constructed under Phase IV.

The post Telangana farmers to apply silt to farm lands appeared first on Telangana Today.



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