GUWAHATI, Oct 23 - The State Horticulture Department is fully prepared to implement work on micro irrigation projects under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) and is looking for early release of funds from the Government to enable work to be started in the sector during the dry winter season, which has begun.
Senior Horticulture Department officials told The Assam Tribune that preparation of the District Irrigation Plans (DIP) and the State Irrigation Plan (SIP) under the PMKSY for 2016-17 is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
The DIPs and the SIP are being prepared by NABCONS, a consultancy service of NABARD.
�The Annual Action Plan (AAP) of PMKSY for 2016-17 is yet to be approved by the State Level Committee (SLC) on PMKSY for further submission to the Centre. The reason is that as per directive of the Union Government, the State should prepare DIPs and SIP prior to submission of AAP. The DIPs and the SIP are being prepared by NABCONS and are likely to be completed within October,� said an official.
He said that submission of the plans, including the AAP, at the earliest possible date will help in securing Central funds.
�Hopefully, the Government of India usually releases the fund for 2016-17 provided the State could submit the SIP and AAP as early as possible, and then the scheme of PMKSY can be actually started in the State. The dry winter period is the time when micro irrigation is most needed in Assam and early submission of the plans and release of funds will help us achieve a lot on the ground by March next year,� said the official.
Before formulation of the PMKSY in 2015 by amalgamating old schemes of various departments like Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) and On Farm Water Management (OFWM), micro irrigation projects in Assam were mostly under the Horticulture Department.
�The Horticulture Department was the implementing agency for OFWM. However, equal emphasis is also to be given to micro irrigation for agriculture crops also in Assam, and the modalities will be chalked out during the AAP approval meeting. But on our part, we are ready to execute the PMKSY in micro irrigation segment in Horticulture as soon as funds are released,� said an official.
With regard to the present financial status of the scheme relating to micro irrigation component, sources said that the Centre had provided Rs 50 lakh during 2015-16 under PMKSY, which could not be released by the State Government during the last fiscal due to some technical problems.
�We have an unspent balance of Rs 14,946 out of the total fund of Rs one crore released by the Central Government during 2014-15 under the OFWM. So, the total unspent balance of over Rs 50.14 lakh is expected to be released by State Government during 2016-17 for implementation of PMKSY. If there is delay in preparation of the plans and release of funds, there will be delay in implementation this year as well, which will result in the money remaining unutilised,� said an official.
Micro irrigation now comes under PMKSY�s Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) component, he added.
Its focus is on judicious and improved methods of micro-irrigation like drip and sprinkler irrigation for harnessing maximum benefits from available water resources to enhance crop productivity without affecting soil health.
PMKSY was formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation and improving water use efficiency in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities.