75 ponds in Ghaziabad ready for revitalization under Center’s ‘Amrit Sarovar’ program
The district administration has identified 75 ponds to be revitalised/rejuvenated under the Centre’s “Mission Amrit Sarovar” initiative and work on these ponds is expected to begin within the next 15 days, officials briefed on the report said. affair.
The objective of the Amrit Sarovar Mission is the “construction/development” of at least 75 ponds in each district of the country. District officials have said that while work on 20% of ponds in the district will be completed by August 15 this year, they will try to complete work on the remaining 80% of ponds by August 15 this year. ‘next year.
Officials said they identified 22 ponds in Muradnagar block, 17 in Loni, 16 in Rajapur and 21 ponds in Bhojpur for the mission. Revitalizing the ponds will help recharge groundwater levels, in addition to providing a water source four blocks away in the neighborhood.
According to the official records of the Groundwater Department of Uttar Pradesh, the groundwater level has declined in different blocks and dropped from an average of 8.05 meters below ground level (mbgl) recorded after the monsoon in 2016 at 11.85 mbgl recorded during the post-monsoon period. of 2020. In urban areas, the average groundwater table fell from 22.7 mbgl during the 2016 post-monsoon to 29.25 mbgl in 2020.
“We have identified the 75 ponds that will be developed under the Centre’s ‘Amrit Sarovar’ program and the funds for this project will be generated by the 15th Finance Commission. Work should start within a fortnight. The target for completion of all works in the 75 ponds is August 15 next year, but we will try to complete all works before the scheduled date,” said Vikramaditya Singh, Development Manager.
However, officials could not immediately provide data on the total number of ponds in the district, which have been encroached and even which have dried up over the years.
Under the Centre’s ‘Amrit Sarovar’ initiative, each of the ponds will have a holding area of at least 1 acre (0.4 hectare) with a water holding capacity of approximately 10,000 cubic meters. All rural districts have been tasked with developing at least 75 ponds, totaling around 50,000 Amrit Sarovars across the country.
The program also mentions that if the district is unable to create as many new Amrit Sarovars, it can undertake the rejuvenation of existing ponds to restore their ecological and productive utility.
Environmentalists said there was a lot to be done to curb groundwater depletion.
“There are many cases of encroachment of water bodies in the district… We are considering moving the authorities, who will take legal action against such issues,” said Sushil Raghav, a city-based environmentalist. which moved the National Green Tribunal in 2013. for the restoration of bodies of water.
Other experts said a full survey of revenue records should be undertaken to determine the exact area of ponds and other water bodies.
“Mere cosmetic changes, like revitalizing ponds, won’t do much in terms of recharging groundwater. There must be a proper system to connect the ponds to the Hindon River to rejuvenate the river. which has no clean water. Additionally, wetlands need to be identified and notified,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based conservationist and lawyer.