Govt planning to set up 10,000 solar based water systems

NEW DELHI, May 14: To meet the drinking water needs of people in Naxal-affected areas, the Government is planning to set up 10,000 solar based water systems in 78 districts which have been hit by Left Wing Extremism.
“We have just prepared a proposal for 10,000 solar based water systems which supply drinking water to communities in rural areas,” Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh said while addressing a conference here.
Ramesh said that this ambitious project would cost Rs 540 crores.
“It is a very ambitious project of 10,000 solar based drinking water systems with a total cost of 540 crores which we are going to fund. We have the money, money is not the problem,” he said.
Ramesh said that this project marked the convergence of the twin aims of developing rural areas and promoting use of renewable energy.
“For the first time we have taken the programme and said that lets address this issue of renewable energy because there are villages and habitations which are not going to seek electricity in the near future because of a variety of reasons… For remoteness, forest areas and so on,” he said.
Later speaking to reporters, Ramesh said that 200 water systems which utilised German made ground water pumps and solar panels made in Pune, had already been installed in Naxal affected Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra.
“We are going to do it in all the 78 Naxal affected districts. We have already installed 200 such systems in Gadchiroli district,” Ramesh said.
He also said that there was need to carry out development in areas affected by Naxalism.
Ramesh was speaking at a conference which had been called to discuss “Towards greening Rural Development programmes in India.”
Ramesh said while the earlier five year plans sought either faster economic growth and later inclusive growth, now for the first time the five year plan talks about faster, inclusive and more sustainable economic growth.
He said there were people who think that “if you use the word sustainable, it means lower economic growth. But I am glad that the 12th Five year plan debunks that notion, we are now talking of faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Ramesh also said his ministry’s scheme, the Green India mission was meant to improve the quantity and quality of green cover.
“The quantity of our green cover is very, very poor.Forty percent of our land, officially classified as forest is open degraded forest,” he said.
Improving the Green cover was one area of convergence between rural development and sustainability, Ramesh said. The second area which is linked to rural development and sustainability is water use efficiency.
Rural Development and the use of non renewable sources of energy is the third area linked to sustainability, he said.
Noting that the budget of the Rural Development ministry was next in size only to the Defence ministry, he said what this expenditure would provide in the long run in terms of sustainability was an important and legitimate question. (PTI)


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