Gangtok, April 30 (IPR): Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang launched the Sikkim Springs Portal www.sikkim-springs.gov.in and released the Sikkim Springs Atlas, Village Water Security Plan (VWSP) and a book on Dhara Vikas – A Climate Change Initiative in the presence of Hon’ble Minister, Rural Development Department, Shri Sonam Lama, at Samman Bhawan, today. The programme had the presence of Additional Chief Secretary, Education Department, Shri G.P. Upadhyaya, Secretaries from line departments, officers from NIC and senior officers from IT Department.
The Rural Development Department has been implementing Climate Change Adaptation Project under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) through NABARD who is the National Implementing Agency. This in one of the 23 projects sanctioned by the MoEFCC throughout the country.
The three-year project has been able to address key concerns in water sectors for 76 Gram Panchayat falling under 13 blocks of South and West District. The project was implemented in convergence with Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, and all wage component under the project were funded under the MGNREGA while the material, planning and research component was funded under NAFCC. A detail assessment and planning exercise through Village Water Security Plan (VWSP) has been completed along with mapping of more than 2500 springs. Dhara Vikas work or the Artificial recharge of springs, revival of dried-up lakes and geo-hydrology study to under the ground covering more than 500 hectares has also been taken up under the project. A total of 1380 number of 10,000 litre Individual Household Water storage tank, 109 no of Community Reserve tanks, total of 2598 hectares of horticulture development and 2500 hectare of fodder plantation have been completed. The Project is in its closing phase with a one year no cost extension granted due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The website was developed by Rural Development Department in coordination with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Pune. More than 2500 springs of Sikkim have been mapped in the website and Mobile Android application called “Sikkim Dhara Suchana” have also been developed by CDAC Pune for Sikkim which is linked to the portal. All details of the springs, data entry, mapping now can be done remotely using a mobile device through this mobile application and this can be sent to the server/portal. Also, for 74 drought prone Gram Panchayats falling South and West District, a comprehensive Village Water Security Plans has been prepared. The plan attempts to look at the Climate Change Vulnerability in water sector for the Gram Panchayat, water budgeting and a strategy to address the same. A detail Water Resource Map of each Gram Panchayat Ward has also been prepared and digitized which shows the water distribution pattern from source to the household level, type of water connection (permanent/temporary), water storage facilities, vulnerable household who do not have access to any of such facilities. These maps have been developed into a Village Atlas for easy reference to address the problem in the near future.
The reviving of the drying up lakes, springs has been the focus area under the project, a total of 500 hectares of Dhara Vikas / artificial recharge work have been taken up under Kaluk, Soreng, Sumbuk, Namthang, Namchi and Gyalshing Block. Hill top dried up lakes are being revived through these initiatives.
Hon’ble Chief Minister during the launching programme stressed on the need to take up more water conservation work in the rural area. Ensuring rural water security is the most important mandate that Rural Development must pursue. He also lauded the department for initiating work in the Climate Change area and further directed that this should be just the beginning and work should be carried out consistently.
Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by Principal Secretary, Rural Development Department, Shri C.S. Rao, wherein, he gave the brief outline of the Climate Change initiatives. This was followed by a detailed presentation by Special Secretary cum Project Director, RDD Smt. Sarika Pradhan.
The Department has expressed gratitude to Hon’ble Chief Minister and Hon’ble Minister, Rural Development Department for guiding and supporting the project.