Report by Orissa Diary correspondent; Bhubaneswar:
Now all soil conservation projects will be planned in watershed module. Watershed Missions have been taken up as a long term measure to combat draught situation in draught prone areas.
The Chief Secretary Bijaya Kumar Patnaik while reviewing watershed programmes in Odisha today in Secretariat Conference hall has directed the Agriculture Department to scale up the Micro Watershed Structures (MWS) and take it to the point of saturation, particularly in the districts where frequent draught takes place.
Target has been fixed to build up at least 200 MWS each with 5000 hectors during the current year. The watersheds will be constructed in clusters. The department has been directed to start work of all 200 at a time so that results can be augmented. Rs.12000/- will be utilized for development one hector of land under the project. The Chief Secretary has directed that institutional arrangement and placement of the staff including the personnel from soil conservation wing should be reengineered for grounding and monitoring of watersheds.
A core committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Development Commissioner Sri R.N.Senapati to work out the details of the requirement, redeployment, orientation and training of the staff required to materialize the mission within stipulated time. Review shows there has been visible growth in development of MWS during last years. The utilization amount in the programme has increased to Rs.208.45 Cr. in 2010-11 from that of Rs.121.53 Cr. in 2007-08.
During this time 3390 MWS have been developed through Odisha Watershed Development Mission ( OWDN) and 346 watersheds have been developed under Soil Conservation department. Proposal has been sent to Govt of India for development of 2.18 lakh hectors during 2011-12 with budget estimate of Rs.262.23 Cr. The Chief Secretary has directed to develop and manage the watersheds through integrated approach and scale up efforts to utilize Rs.400 Cr. .
The Development Commissioner R.N.Senapati, Secretary Agriculture Ranglal Jamuda, Director Agriculture & Soil Conservation Santh Gopalan and Manager Watershed Mission N.SAhoo participated in discussions.