HUBLI: Annoyed with the negligence of the state government, villagers of Betadur in Kundgol taluk have voluntarily taken up desilting works in a lake.
In the wake of demands for desilting two lakes in the village, the Kundgol taluk panchayat had promised to desilt the Hirekere lake in Betadur village and had even performed bhoomi pooja to mark the start of the works. Public representatives and officials had also assured of taking up the project at an estimated cost of `10-15 lakh.
The assurance had brought great joy to the villagers. However, even after four months, the villagers saw no progress in the works. With their repeated requests going in vain, the attitude of the government irked the villagers.
Concerned at the ensuing rainy season which could hinder the desilting works and result in severe water crisis in the coming years, people of the tiny hamlet took the novel initiative to desilt the lakes at their own expense.
The village has a population of around 5,000, a majority being small and marginal farmers.
They employed three earthmovers and over 50 tractors to desilt the 23- acre lake which had dried up completely.
The mud is being used to improve the fertility of the farm lands in the village.
Currently the villagers are using two borewells for drinking water purposes and intend to achieve
self-sufficiency in the storage of water soon.
“The lake used to serve the village for 5-6 years once filled. However due to the accumulation of silt, the capacity of the lake has come down which will lead to serious problems,” said former GP member of the village Totappagouda Patil.
Since the administration has failed to properly implement the MGNREGA scheme to provide labour to the villagers, the villagers planned to desilt the lake at their own expense. The farmers are also contributing `50 per tractor load to the owner of the earthmover.
Through their novel initiative, the villagers have exposed the failure of District Minister Jagadish Shettar in his home district, as he also holds the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj portfolio.