Koraput (Odisha), Apr 2 (PTI) The Koraput administration has decided to dig at least 500 wells before the onset of the monsoon season in 14 blocks of the district, under the Centre-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

The administration is hopeful that the project will boost the irrigation facilities of the farmers and, in turn, double their income, said an official.

“As it is not possible to construct canals in every corner of the district, digging wells in agricultural fields could be the next best option,” said Koraput District Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy.

Also, during drought, the fields won’t run dry as the farmers can use water from the wells, he said.

“Each well, estimated to cost Rs 2.70 lakh, will be 40 feet deep and 20 feet wide. The entire amount for construction of the wells will be paid from the MGNREGA funds,” Chakravarthy explained.

Any farmer, who has a field of his own, is eligible to dig a well under the centrally sponsored job scheme, the collector added.

A senior district official said work has already begun in three Maoist-hit blocks of the district – Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon and Laxmipur.

“On a priority basis, wells are being dug at villages in far-flung areas with little or no irrigation facilities. We are hopeful that we could meet the target of digging 500 wells before the onset of monsoon,” said Bhabani Shankar Kalo, project director, District Watershed Mission, Koraput.

The administration will also see to it that the farmers get to avail of loans for purchasing a motor to lift water from the well, he added.

In most areas, the rain water does not infiltrate the soil as it is released to rivers through drains, the collector said.

“The new project will recharge groundwater by storing the rain water.”

A mass awareness programme on the benefits and advantages of the new irrigation project will be launched in the rural areas of the district, the collector said.

“Leaflets will be distributed to people during village meetings and announcements will be made through loud speakers in weekly markets,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.