Private member resolution of BJP member Rajiv Bindal in state assembly today dropped by voice vote as it was brought to make policy to harvest rain and ice water for the benefit of state resident.
Before the State Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri could reply to the motion, BJP members objected and said that the matter is related to Irrigation Department, therefore, IPH minister Vidya Stokes who was present in the house should make reply.
But speaker rejecting the contention of opposition members, said that since the matter also pertained to Mid Himalayan watershed project also benefited the farmers beside providing carbon credits to the state. Therefore, minister could make reply in this matter.
When BJP members termed the reply unrelated to the motion, they sought protection from the chair to ask competent minister to make reply.
Intervening speaker Brij Behari Lal Butail advised the minister to speak only on the matter. The minister agreed that water resources must be properly utilized.
Minister argued that state had adopted three main points in forest policy 2013 which includes harvesting, re-cycling of water and check misuse of water. He said steps are being taken such as afforestation and check on construction of dams in this direction.
A task force has also been set up to assure better utilization of water and its sources. He said efforts are on to prepare such proposal which help in water conservation as ambitious project with help of Germany was being implemented also benefit all the districts in the state.
He said forest department has also been asked to prepare a scheme for snow harvesting. Dr. Bindal said that the reply of minister was unsatisfactory and refused to withdraw the resolution.
It was defeated by voice votes when speaker put the motion to vote in the house also cause spat of words between the opposition and chair.
Earlier, presenting the resolution in the house, Dr. Rajiv Bindal said that due to non-availability of irrigation facilities farmers were committing suicide as vocation of agriculture has failed today as people are migrating from villages to towns and cities.
He said out of 141 million hectare arable land only 56 million hectare that is 18 percent is under irrigation, feeding 60 percent of population.
BJP member said that uncertainty of weather conditions is also now causing problem for 80 percent agriculture land dependent in rains.
He said poverty ratio in rain fed areas was as high as 37 percent as compared to 33 percent in irrigated areas as there was malnutrition in rain fed areas due to economic reasons.
Former Health minister also said that situation in state was alarming as out of 948345 hectare arable land, only 186624 hectare had irrigation facilities.
He said rain water causes extensive damage as most of rain restricted to three to four months round the year.
Member pointed out that average 1100 mm rainfall occur in the state could benefit the farmers after making policy for its harvest in the state.
Mr. Bindal said 9775 glaciers charged the Himachal rivers but despite having ample water it could not utilize only for the benefit of the people of state.
If the government would not make policy to harvest rain and ice water or if it is done, the problem would aggravate in the future, member said.
He said though many departments were working in this direction but it appeared that the efforts were not yielding expected results.
Advocating for time bound measure he said that this will also provide opportunities to the unemployed youths.
He said land reclaimed due to channelization of swan in Una is fitting example. He said though funding for these works was available we have failed to prepare projects for water harvesting.
BJP MLA’s Inder Singh and Mahender Singh also supported the resolution.