More than half a century ago, fathers and grandfathers of these farmers carried sickles, crow bars, shovels and spades for doing the work that has now been entrusted to machines. Has the face of participatory management in maintenance of water bodies changed for the better or for the worse?
Kudimaramathu, in its new avatar, was launched by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at Manimangalam village in Kancheepuram district on March 13. The scheme envisages the rejuvenation of 1,519 out of 16,098 Public Works Department tanks in 30 districts. Work on deepening tanks, strengthening bunds, desilting supply channels and repairing sluices is entrusted to farmers under a participatory arrangement.
This is how the scheme works: The beneficiaries have to contribute 10 per cent of the allocation and execute the work using heavy machines wherever required. They are also free to engage contractors. PWD officials supervise the work on a daily basis, besides providing technical guidance. The objective is to restore full storage level in tanks and strengthen bunds. The Chief Minister has announced that the scheme will be extended to more tanks in the coming years with assistance from the National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD).