Bank rejuvenates lakes in two villages

Hubballi: Dried ponds or agricultural fields and weeds in place of agricultural crops are common features in any village of North Karnataka, especially the erstwhile Vijayapura region. Scorching sunlight is the only commodity available in abundance and the scarce commodity is, of course, water.
However, these are things of the past in Karjol village in Vijayapura district and Gaddanakere village in Bagalkot district. Thanks to the ambitious plan launched Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority the Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) sponsored Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Syndicate Bank which has taken up revival of historical tanks of both villages.

S Ravindran, chairman, KVGB, said that due to four consecutive drought years, the region was reeling due to lack of water. “During our visits to branches, we found that rural people were struggling to get drinking water in many places. They were compelled to sell their livestock as they found it difficult to feed them. Seeing their plight, we decided to take up rejuvenation of these two ponds in the first phase. When the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) saw our initiative, it funded the project,” he explained.

B Sridhar, regional manager, KVGB, Vijayapura region, said it was not an easy task. “During his branch visits, our chairman and others officials stressed the importance of water harvesting, cleaning up tanks and desilting them to increase their storage capacity. We realized this could be an effective step to overcome water scarcity to some extent. Villagers were enthused Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority it,” he added.

Ramesh Yadahalli, regional manager, KVGB, Bagalkot region, said permission was obtained from the gram panchayats. “With the help of villagers, we took up the task in the last vacation and dedicated both lakes on June 5, 2017, the World Environment Day,” he said.

PS Malghan, a resident of Karjol village, said the bank ensured removal of bushes and cleaned the lake measuring about 32 acres. “They planted some saplings. Now, the lake has become a green spot. If they plant more saplings and put fencing around the lake, it will be helpful,” he said.

‘Educating villagers’
The 7-acre lake is full of water and has made the surroundings cool. Desilting work, extension of catchment area and building of tank bund has been carried out to increase storage of water for a long time. Villagers have been educated about the importance of keeping water bodies clean, water harvesting and related issues. The villagers are happy and they have realized the importance of water storage in ponds.