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Barmer ‘s liquid gold to get tinge of green

Last modified March 16, 2015 12:47

Mail Today. New Delhi, 8 March 2015.

In a move that will bring cheer to environmentalists and farmers in rain-starved Barmer, the land around the petroleum production site in the district will soon become greener through water farming. The construction of rainwater harvesting structures has already begun around more than 1,000 locations around the oil production facilities. Over 500 ‘khadins’, which are expected to provide a solution to the soil damage problem, will also be set up at the locations. A ‘khadin’ is an earthen embankment built across a slope to collect the water which runs off during the rainy season. This water can be used for agriculture and it also enhances the fertility of the soil where it is collected from.
“The Barmer Unnati Project, a joint venture of Cairn India and TechnoServe, works with farmers to set up rainwater harvesting structures,” head of corporate social responsibility at Cairn India Nilesh Jain said while adding that the move would enable farmers in Barmer – the land of liquid gold – to thrive in challenging agroclimatic conditions. For farmers like Chetan Singh, a resident of Bothia Jagir village near Bhagyam, the ‘khadin’ has changed his life. Singh has used his land for the first time to cultivate crops. He was able to convert his fallow land into a cultivable area due to the harvesting structures. “He (Singh) harvested rainwater, managed its flow and divided his land into three parts to cultivate bajra, moong and moth during Kharif (summer rains) in 2014,” deputy general manager of corporate communications of Cairn India Ayodhya Prasad Gaur pointed out.
Barmer district receives just 270-300mm of rain annually. The rainfall is spread only across 15 days. The overall agro-ecological condition of the district is characterised by sand dunes, undulating inter-dunal space, coarse to fine textured soil and low rainfall. The texture of the soil makes it prone to movement with wind and water during summers and rainy seasons. There is a major drought in this area every alternate year and once in every three years a severe drought affects livelihoods. The ground water level does little to quench the thirst of the population living in this area and they have to walk miles afar to fetch drinking water. Towards the northern side of Barmer the level of ground water is higher, so the farmers practice crop rotation or double crop farming and grow both summer and winter crop.

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