Water, water everywhere
Just two years ago, the people of P Yaleru village in Anantapur district had to walk several kilometres to get drinking water. According to 6 Sreenivas, technical director, Rural Development Trust, Anantapur, this area gets less than 550 millimetre of rain every year. Till 1992-93, only 15 out of 70 wells in the area had water. Watershed development was started in the early 1990s, but were not successful. it was only after Naidu came to power that the programme got the much-needed fillip.
In 1996, after the government prepared a plan for integrated watershed development in Anantapur, the village-level watershed committees took up development activities such as soil conservation, minor Irrigation, afforestation, horticulture and cattle rearing. In the past three years, seven check dams were constructed. Now, there is sufficient water for drinking as well as irrigation. 'Today, the farmers reap two crops every year. And almost all wells have water," says H Reddy, chairperson of a watershed committee in P Yaleru.
People contribute half of the total cost either in the form of shramdan (voluntary tabour) or money. Since 199S-96, the committee has received Rs 13 lakh from the government. So far, it has spent Its 9 lakh on construction of check dams and other watershed activities.
Besides, the corpus fund, generated by the development activities, is used to help the needy, especially the landless. The committee also raises funds through cottage industries, dairies and fisheries. To ensure transparency, the Income and expenditure is written on the walls of the village watershed committee hall.
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