Irrigation and water finance corp to be set up this year

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) Union Minister for Water Resources Saifuddin Soz today said Irrigation and Water Resources Finance Corporation will be established this year to ensure much required food security for the country.

Addressing a distinguished gathering of experts, engineers and representatives of voluntary organisations on World Water Day 2008 here, Prof Soz said the announcement for setting up the Corporation has been made in the Budget proposal for 2008-09.

He said the government had identified 14 mega projects in different states and the proposal was to have large investments for the irrigation sector through this corporation under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme and Command Area Development and Water Management Programme. The project had helped in the completion of a large number of ongoing irrigation projects and proper utilisation of created facilities through adoption of better water management practices.

A scheme to repair, renovate and restore water bodies diectly linked to agriculture has been initiated in the states to help marginal farmers.

Touching upon natural disasters mainly involving water-related events, the Minister said tsunamis, riverine floods, droughts, urban flooding, coastal flooding and land slides are the hazards that can constitute a risk for societies and communities.

Floods and droughts are the most deadly fresh water disasters, disrupting socio-economic development in the particular region.

Efforts to reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into all water resources policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development.

On the inter-state water issues, the minister said the conflicts were often exacerbated by traditional values, customs and practices, historical factors and geographical vagaries. The Government has been able to address many of the issues through mutual cooperation, he remarked. The goal should be optimum utilisation of available water resources to support agricultural production and other demands through a twin strategy of bringing more areas under irrigation and improved water management of existing system through appropriate measures.

Vice President Hamid Ansari was the Chief Guest at the event on the World Water Day while she herself, Soz's deputy Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav was present on the occassion.

UNI MCN Mir RK1735

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