Over 20,000 ponds dug in Bengal in last one year

June 27th, 2012 - 12:49 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 26 (IANS) Altogether 20,608 ponds have been dug in West Bengal over the past one year creating 1.25 crore man days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), a minister said here Tuesday.

Giving the figures during Question Hour in the state assembly, Water Resources Investigation and Development Minister Saumen Mahapatra said the stress on water harvesting (Jal Dharo Jal Bharo) has led to improvement in the MNREGS performance.

Over the next five years, the government aims to dig 50,000 ponds, the minister said.

The government also proposes to implement 4,560 small irrigation projects in the state in the next five years by utilising a Rs.1,150 crore loan from the World Bank.

Terming high salinity and arsenic contamination of ground water as the challenges to the state’s water resources, he said 59 blocks, mostly in South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts suffer from high salinity, while 69 blocks mainly in Murshidabad, Malda, Birbhum, South 24 Parganas,and North 24 Parganas districts have the problem of arsenic poisoning.

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