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All happy to build dams, but none interested in sending water to farms: Gadkari

New Delhi: From ministers to bureaucrats, everyone is "very happy" to construct large dams but few are interested in ensuring that water reaches farms, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday as he pitched for focusing on increased irrigation.

Gadkari suggested that instead of going in for large dams, the possibility of building check dams, rubber dams and small barrages should be explored, an official statement said. The water resources minister said that he was not against dams, but was for 100% utilisation of water to increase agricultural productivity.

He said there was a need to develop command areas to ensure that water reaches farms. Command area development (CAD) involves on-farm improvement activities such as construction of field drains and channels and scientific management of water to ensure an increase in agricultural production.

"All are very interested in constructing dams. I don't know what the interest is, but everyone is quite interested in it. Big contractors (of dams) come... from ministers to bureaucrats (all) are very happy when there are big projects," Gadkari said. "I am sorry to say, but the issue of CAD is of no interest (to them). What is the use of the scheme then," he asked at a one-day conference here on CAD.

The minister, the statement said, also expressed concern over the fact that funds allocated for CAD had not been adequately utilised and said the overall purpose of the government's AIBP - Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme - would be defeated if CAD was not implemented.

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