Land cracks in UP due to ground water exploitation: GSI

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Lucknow, Jun 15: With Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati directing the officials to look into the series of land splitting incidents in the state, now the experts have opined that such cracks were only due to drawing of excess ground water in these region.

After reports of land cracks in the drought affected Bundelkhand region and other areas including Kanpur and Etawah, Ms Mayawati had called up a high level meeting on Friday last.

The experts in their preleminary report to the UP government had clearly claimed that the land cracks were due to excess drawal of the ground water rather than any indication of any seismic or geological activity.

Meanwhile, the Geological Survey of India (GSI), which was investigating into the incidents, had suggested to the UP government to take immediate measures for regulating the exploitation of the ground water and also to recharge the ground water resources.

The GSI had despatched its teams to Hamirpur, Jalaun and Etawah for an on-the-spot study of the situation. The GSI is likely to submit its detailed report to the state government tomorrow.

GSI deputy director general Deepak Srivastava said the land splitting or cracking was only due to excess drawal of the ground water in the drought hit region.

He said said rains in drought hit areas of Bundelkhand, last week, recharged the first aquifer which led to the release of tension causing the land splitting.

The GSI officials confirmed that the teams which visited the villages in Hamirpur and Jalaun district found that the land splitting cases occurred only where the surface was weak due to the excess drawal of the ground water and also the land splitting occurred in the areas located close to the rivers.

Mr Srivastava also denied any symptoms of seismic activity as the animals and the birds were the first to notice any such activity. ''There was no cause for alarm over the incident of land splitting , it occurred as the Bundelkhand region was reeling under the drought for the last four years leading to over exploitation of the ground water and the incessant rains caused this incident. The teams took the measurement on both the sides of site of land split and no change were found,'' he further claimed.

The GSI has also suggested the state government to take up the rain water harvesting in the all parts of the state particularly in the drought hit areas to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Besides, the government should also regulate the drawal of the ground water in Bundelkhand. The incidents of land split occurred at 18 places, 13 in Hamirpur and five in Jalaun district. The chief secretary Atul Gupta had visited those sites on Friday.

Earlier the State Ground Water Department (SGWD) had already sounded a ''SOS'' to stop the over-exploitation of the ground water for agriculture purposes in view of the drinking water scarcity looming large in the state.

Out of 822 development blocks in 71 districts of the state, the ground water level in over 450 blocks had been found to be in the category of the seriously affected, the scenario giving sleepless nights to the state authorities, the SGWD officials said here.

In a joint survey by Central Ground Water Department and the SGWD recently showed that the situation of ground water in 22 development blocks of 13 districts was found to be over-exploited' and critical', whereas, the water level in 75 development blocks of 29 districts was 'semi-critical'.

In a worsened scenario this year, ground water level in 38 blocks was found to be 'over-exploited' and 'critical' while in 88 blocks, the level is in the category of 'semi-critical'.

The reports from Agra-Chambal have said that the water level in this belt has dipped as low as 60 feet.

There are large tracts of land in the state where the crest of earth is hard which makes it difficult for rain water to seep in easily. So far, 122 development blocks in 41 districts have been identified where special effort would be mounted to preserve rain water so that it could enter the crest.

UNI

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