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Rashmin Sanghvi & Associates

Chartered Accountants

109, 1st Floor, Arun Chambers,
Tardeo Road,
Mumbai - 400 034,
Maharashtra, India.

Tel. Nos.: (+91 22) 2351 1878, 2352 5694.

Fax : (+91 22) 2351 5275.

Email : [email protected]

 
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Friends of VSSM & Dharampur

12th December, 2015.

To, Shri Sudhirbhai Thackersey,
Mumbai.

Tharad Water Management Project Proposal

Main Plan: Vadia should become a happy village. This means they should be financially independent, physically protected and mentally at peace. For this purpose an overall plan has been prepared. A part of the plan is water management for the area covering several surrounding villages and towns. Main plan was started by Ms. Mittal Patel in the year 2006. Water management has started in the year 2015.

Agriculture can provide more employment with less expenditure.

Agriculture needs water.

In this report we are discussing only Water Management. Water Management may be conducted for a large area. It cannot be done effectively for one small village. Hence we have chosen Dhanera to Tharad area for water management.

Total budget is proposed at Rs. 25,00,000. The amount can be paid over two years –2015-16; and 2016-17.

Geography:

Banaskantha district with Palanpur as its head quarter is in North Gujarat, with Rajasthan and Kutch as its borders. Whole area is arid – water starved.

Narmada Canal’ Rajasthan branch passes through Banaskantha district. Branch canals from this main canal provide good water to part of the district. Farmers who benefit by irrigation have become rich. Other areas remain poor.

Tharad is a small city. West of Tharad is irrigated. East of Tharad is water starved.

Vadia is a small village with about 150 families. Till the year 2011, almost all ladies were in prostitution. Men were either brokers, thieves/ robbers or idle. It is an infamous village. And yet more than a hundred families are below poverty line. Almost all of them dependent on the main Dalals for finance in case of need.

Aravalli (Abu) Mountain range is on the east/ North east of Vadia village. Rain fall on the Aravalli range flows through Banaskantha district and goes through Patan to the Kutch dessert.

While normally the rain fall is small, in July, 2015 there were flash floods in the area causing serious damage.

While normally the rain fall is small, in July, 2015 there were flash floods in the area causing serious damage.

Summary:

1. Water Logging on west side of Tharad:

The lake at village Todgam has been dug up. It will help absorb the excess water in the area. It will also have good demonstration effect. Villagers can do a lot more work. Cost for one lake of six acres has been Rs. 1,80,000.

On the west side of Tharad, Narmada canal is supplying water for agriculture. Now we may not do elaborate work on that side. Though motivating farmers can be done and small amounts can be spent.

Follow-up with Palanpur Collector may be necessary to ensure that all water is pumped out.

3. We have talked about our work at village Vadia – with the farmers of Todgam & Nagla. We will continue spreading the good word.

4. Vadgamda villagers have been told to plan the work for their own village. They have seven lakes. All lakes may be made fit for more percolation of water. One lake can be desilted extensively. We had a meeting with Vadgamda farmers. Farmers have made almost fifty bore wells and are in a better financial position. We have suggested that they also clear up one lake in the same manner as village Todgam.

For the first time, two farmers of Vadgamda came with us, talked with Vadia farmers and moved around the farms for about two hours. This is first pebble falling from the strong wall of hatred towards Vadia. We will continue doing more work to break down the wall.

We will spend about Rs. 2,00,000 in Vadgamda.

 

Meeting with Vadgamda farmers

 

5. Vadia:

We have discussed at length with Vadia people. They will desilt existing lake, expand it to the extent practical.

6. Zenta village, Nishkalank Mahadeva Temple.

Around this temple there is a vast open space. We can dig several small and big lakes for water recharging as well as for surface storage. This will help a large area including Vadia & Vadgamda.

7. Ultimate Plan:

Narmada Nigam has made facilities so that Dantiwada dam in Banaskantha district will be kept full throughout the year. At an appropriate time, VSSM will request irrigation minister to provide adequate water for agriculture by canal in Dhanera to Tharad area.

Our belief and expectations are – that – when we do some work on our own; and then request the Government to help; chances of success are better. We may bring awareness in this area. Dig several lakes. Spend about Rs. 25 lakhs. Then request Government and pray God.

If irrigation canal is provided by Government, the benefit will be far more beyond any NGO’s capability.

At the centre of all these projects is our desire that Vadia village should be a happy village.

Details:

1. From 28th to 30th November (three days) we visited the area, met people and took decisions. Following persons took part in the visit:

(i) Shri Mavjibhai Baraiya, Director, VRTI together with his three colleagues came from Mandvi, Kutchh.
(ii) Ms. Mittal Patel, VSSM, joined from Ahmedabad. Her karyakar Shardabahan joined from Tharad.
(iii) From Mumbai following persons went: Rashmin Sanghvi, Investment Analyst, Mr. Manjunath, CA, Mr. Atul Ambavat & Architect Mr. Hitesh Kartela.

All of us together visited on Saturday the 29th November - three villages on the west side of Tharad: Todgam, Nagla & Khanpur. All these three villages are suffering from water logging. We discussed ways and means for removing the surplus water.

All of us visited on Sunday, the 30th November – Vadgambda, Vadia, and Nishkalanka Mahadev Temple in Zenta village on the east side of Tharad. This area suffers from water shortage.

2. Flood Details:

In the last week of July, there was continuous heavy rainfall in the entire area. Aravalli Hill range (Abu) and Banas Kantha area. In two days rainfall, two dams in the area – Dantiwada & Sipu dams overflowed. (Normally with the whole year’, – rainfall, these dams don’t over flow.

On third day, the flood started.

In village Todgam at night 3.00 a.m. – suddenly flood water entered the farms and homes of the farmers. People suddenly woke up and in the dark night rushed out of homes. They took their children, the elderly persons and disabled persons and ran for safety of any plateau in the area.

Water flowed through an entire area with a breadth of a few kilometers at heights ranging from five feet to fifteen feet for over ten days. Serious damage has been occurred in several villages in most parts of Sanchar, Rajasthan & Banaskantha, Gujarat.

On the west of Tharad. 3 villages Nagla, Khanpur & Dodgam are so situated that – on one side is Deesa – Tharad Road. On another side is the branch canal of main Rajasthan canal. This canal has made a boundary through which the flood water could not pass. Hence all the flood water stayed in a large area.

 

Talking with farmers family at Todgam – displaced by Flood

 

3. Water Logging:

Todgam, Nagla & Khanpur – a large area of about 1,500 acres is under water since July, 2015. Initially, even the houses in the villages were under water. Hence Gujarat Government installed water pumps. These pumps threw the water into the Rajasthan Canal. Hence villages came out of the water. However, still a large part of the farms and adjoining areas are still under water. Some farmers had built their houses inside their farms. Their houses are also under water.

Water logging at village Nagla

 

Because of the flash floods in July, all these farmers have lost their monsoon crop for the year 2015. Because of water logging, they have not been able to take even the winter crop. Now they are seriously worried that if no action is taken, they might lose their monsoon 2016 crop also. Hence they made several representations to different Government agencies at Tharad and Palanpur. However, no action was taken by Government. Finally, out of desperation, the villagers went on hunger strike in November, 2015. About 40 to 50 villagers sat down in the compound of Collector’s office and demanded action for removal of water. Collector was busy in elections. He had no time to talk with these villagers. Finally, on 28th of November, just one day before the election, collector met the villagers. He assured to take necessary action within a week. The Government would install 96 water pumps to pump out the water. It would take about three months to remove all the water.

4. Saving Rain Water:

I was in telephonic discussions with farmers for about fifteen days. My view was: some parts of Tharad experience water scarcity. This area (3 villages) is suffering water logging. If the Government transfers this water to the Rajasthan Canal, the water will flow to Rajasthan. After two months there will be acute shortage of water. Can we somehow store all this water?

Large quantities of water may be stored in two manners: (i) above surface storage by lakes. (ii) Underground storage by recharging the water tables. The farmers had explained the water position on land and Under Ground Water Table.

(i) On the west of Tharad, there is no water shortage. Because of the Rajasthan canal, adequate water is available for taking crops throughout the year.
(ii) At the same time rainfall in the area is low. Some lakes have already gone dry. This has its consequential difficulties.
(iii) In this area, the underground water table position is as under: From the land surface to about 10 feet the land is dry. From 10 feet to about 150 feet the underground is full of salty water.

Large quantities of water may be stored in two manners: (i) above surface storage by lakes. (ii) Underground storage by recharging the water tables. The farmers had explained the water position on land and Under Ground Water Table.

 

Todgam Lake. Dry

 

It is said that many parts of the Banaskantha district, once upon a time were under the Sea. At some time in the history, the oceans receded. Hence this area was exposed as land. Hence this area is made up of sands and not soils. And underground contains salty water.

After the aquifer of salty water below 400 feet, there was sweet water. Farmers have made borewells and drawn this sweet water. In the process, the water has gone down to a depth of 800 feet.

 

 

This was a complex problem and I was not sure about the right solution. Hence I had requested Shri M. L. Baraiya to come, visit the place, study the problem and give us a solution.

5. On 29th November, all of us visited the place, inspected water logging, discussed with farmers.

We visited Todgam Lake. When we visited, entire lake was dry. In the bottom of the lake, a crowd of Nilgai (Bluebuck – deers) was grazing. On our arrival, the animals went away from the lake. This lake was dry whereas just about 1 k.m. away, there was water logging. In some places, the water was 2 feet deep and in some places the water was 10 feet deep. In August & September, when even the villages were sub-merged, some of the farms were under the 35 feet of water. Thousands of trees – mango trees, pomegranates trees etc. were sub-merged under the water and hence died. We could see those dead trees at some places.

 

Our visiting team looking at water logging

 

6. Mr. Baraiya advised as under:

(i) We cannot allow the water to go waste. All the water available today should be stored underground so that it can be used in future.
(ii) The existing water should be pumped into the dry lakes in the area. This way the lakes will be filled in. Water will be available for surface use.
(iii) Some of these lakes can be dug up and the sands / soil removed from the bottom of the lake. This will improve water percolation and will also increase the surface storage capacity of the lake.

 

Shri M. L. Baraiya explaining at village Todgam

 

7. Plans – Expectations:

Todgam lake should be desited. Soil, sand and all silt in the lake should be removed. This sand can be used for agriculture or land fill as the farmers may decide.

Collector will be requested. Out of the 96 water pumps to be installed, some pumps may be installed in such a manner that the water will be pumped into the lake.

Our expectation is that the water pumped into the lake will quickly percolate into the ground. Because of cleaning up of the bottom, the percolation will be fast. Once the underground is saturated with water; then the surface will be filled in. This surface water will be available for men and animals.

Thus the surplus will be stored under the surface and over the surface.

Total area still submerged in water in about six square kilo meters or about 1500 acres of land. On an average the depth of the water may be around ten feet. Total 15,000 acre feet of water. The lake has existing depth of ten feet. After digging, it will be twenty feet deep. Surface storage in the lake will be 120 acre feets. How much water will percolate under the ground is just a guess. We hope a thousand acre feet will percolate.

8. Our talks with farmers of Todgam, Nagla & Khanpur.

VSSM had arranged a meeting of farmers from these three villages. Almost a hundred farmers met us. Shri M. L. Baraiya, Mittal Patel and myself discussed with farmers.

 

Shri Baraiya addressing a meeting at village Nagla

 

Illustration of one farmer:

Khanpur – Laljibhai has suffered losses in the form of standing crops, pomegranate and mango trees, home furniture and dead cattle. Total loss of Rs. 1 crore. Our actions & contribution of about Rs. 2 lakhs will help hundreds of such farmers of three villages.

9. Plan – Execution:

After discussions, we made following offer to the villagers:

(i) The villagers should take responsibility for execution of the plan.
(ii) They can select a contractor with earth moving machinery (JCB/ Hitachi, etc.). VSSM will pay the contractor’s charges for removing the soil and dumping into tractors.
(iii) Villagers should bring their own tractor-trolleys. These will be filled in by earth-mover. They take away the soil and use it as they decide.
(iv) VSSM will pay contractor charges of maximum Rs. 2,00,000.
(v) Government will put up pipelines and 96 engines to lift the water and put it up into Rajasthan Canal.

VSSM & Farmers will request the Collector that two points of 12 engines each should be installed to pump the water into dry lake. So the water lying in the vast area will be pumped into the dry lake. This will fill the lake & recharge the lake.

10. One farmer Laljibhai of Todgam village spontaneously agreed to bear entire cost of the tractors and agreed to take responsibility of the project. He will lift the sand & soil from the bed of the lake and spread it in the Gaushala. There is a vast plot of land in which a Gaushala – with about 500 cows of Gaushala / Panjrapol are situated. This Gaushala had suffered extensively due to floods. Under this plan, entire Gaushala would be raised by a few feet.

VSSM & Farmers will request the Collector that two points of 12 engines each should be installed to pump the water into dry lake. So the water lying in the vast area will be pumped into the dry lake. This will fill the lake & recharge the lake.

 

Shri Laljibhai – Todgam farmer who took full responsibility for Todgam lake.

 

11. On 11th December, Mittal informed that the Todgam lake has been dug up. About ten feet deeper from its earlier level. VSSM’s cost of JCB hire charges has been about Rs. 1,80,000.

 

Todgam lake Digging

 

To complete such work in about ten days without any difficulty is possible because of a collaboration amongst – villagers, VSSM, VRTI and Mumbai donors.

Collector has still not started pumping the water. It appears that the work will start by 16th December.

There are two more lakes in the area. However, we have told the villagers: “Now you know the benefit of lake digging. And you can dig the balance two lakes also. If you can dig entire lakes; very good. If you can’t; just remove top two feet of soil from an area of say – 20 feet by 20 feet. Even this will be good enough to facilitate water percolation in the ground”.

12. Vadia lake was dug up in the month of April, 2015. Todgam lake has been dug up in December. Very soon Vadgamda lake will be dug up. Vadia lake has received silt during the flood. This silt will be removed and the lake will be expanded to the extent practical. The initial work of motivating people in all these villages has been already accomplished.

The next stage will be motivating other villagers at Zenta Village and surrounding area. On 29th November, we had travelled through a large area. We saw that every square foot available has been used for agriculture. Thus there is no space for digging any further lake. However, outside Zenta village, there is a temple of Nishkalank Mahadev. Surrounding this temple, there is a large open area. We can make one large and several small lakes to facilitate water percolation in the area.

 

Nishkalank Majadev Temple, Zenta village

 

Mittal plans to visit this area on 20th December and motivate the people. On the whole, before 31st May, 2016, we want to have several lakes facilitating large scale percolation. The rain fall during monsoon 2016 will be tapped to a great extent.

After November, 2016, we may dig really large lakes surrounding Nishkalank Temple.

Total cost of the whole project will depend upon the number of lakes that we can dig. On a broad estimate we are budgeting Rs. 25 lakhs. Out of this total, an amount of Rs. 10 lakhs may be spent before 31st March, 2016. Balance Rs. 15 lakhs may be spent between April, 2016 and May 2017. Before requesting for Rs. 15 lakhs, we will submit the report of utilisation of Rs. 10 lakhs.

I will be glad to discuss the plan and provide such details as may be necessary.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

For Core Group of
Friends of Dharampur & VSSM,
Convenor

Rashmin Sanghvi