Jeevika – a project conceptualised by Udhampur Dy Commissioner Piyush Singla bags national water conservation award

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Udhampur, November 11: “Jeevika’’ – a project conceptualised by Udhampur District Development Commissioner Dr Piyush Singla so as to generate sustainable livelihood for farmers in the hilly districts of Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday bagged the best District National Water Conservation Award from the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti. 

The award was virtually presented to Dr Singla by the Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu.

Pointing out that Udhampur district is predominantly agrarian with 80 per cent population in rural areas mainly dependent on it as their main source of livelihood, Singla said that 97 per cent of the families among them happened to be of small and marginal farmers. The low farmer income per kanal from orthodox farming was approximately Rs 5,000 a year.

The project aimed at enhancing livelihood for small and marginal farmers by providing assured irrigation of agriculture land and conservation of water through the development of sustainable ecosystem by water conservation in the district which earlier had irrigation facility from all sources for only 6 per cent of its total cultivable area. To enhance the water usage capacity aimed at generating sustainable livelihood for farmers in the district, a multipronged strategy was adopted storing perennial water bodies discharge in a pond. 

Made of polythene sheets, these ponds are unique water harvesting structures and the water is supplied to the farmers’ fields through a drip irrigation system. 

Pointing out that the Project Jeevika is essentially from the perspective of a farmer and revolves around increasing farmers’ income by using water conservation, Singla said that it offers holistic integration of factors of production right from harnessing the untapped perennial water sources for increasing the assured irrigation potential through innovative water harvesting structures (Plastic Pond) to promoting efficient water use for irrigation by means of micro irrigation-Drip method and Mulching, Healthy soil by promoting Vermi-Compost, Enhancing off season vegetable production- Poly Houses. 

While explaining the significance of the project DDC said that a joint survey was conducted by Agriculture and Rural Development Department to study the feasibility, requirements, and willingness of the farmer to participate and to realize the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.