Source The Hindu :
The pond at the Mailar Mallanna temple in Khanapur of Bhalki taluk has been revived after it was cleaned under MNREGA.— Photo: Gopichand T.
Work under the MNREGA has helped rejuvenate the kalyani in Mailar Mallanna temple in Khanapur in Bhalki taluk.
The huge pond behind the temple complex had dried up for several years and tourists had turned into a garbage dump yard. The work by villagers from Khanapur, Malchapur and Khanapur tanda, has resulted in the kalyani holding a large amount of water now.
When the Bidar Zilla Panchayat decided to clean and dredge kalyanis under MNREGA, ponds in the Mallanna temple were the first to be taken up.
Over 300 labourers were involved in cleaning three ponds in the temple premises, for around 60 days. This was among the drought relief works taken up by the district administration that Chief Minister Siddharamaiah visited in May.
“We engaged every available labourer,” says Godavari Biradar, panchayat development officer. “Usually, labourers from the three villages under Malchapur Gram panchayat go to Hyderabad and Solapur to work in the construction industry. This year, they could not go to Maharashtra due to the drought. We were happy because we could create enough jobs for them locally.”
“Such work will continue,” assures Pavan Kumar Malpati, zilla panchayat chief executive officer. “This is just the beginning. We have over 400 kalyanis in the district, most of them in rural areas. We will take up their cleaning in phases, he said. Watershed developments works should be taken up on priority as per MNREGA guidelines. Such works help push up the water table, improve yields, sustain cattle and ensure prosperity of the village, apart from helping check distress migration.”
Farmers in Khanapur say their village is the Prempur mentioned in the Puranas. They believe the story to be true and express concern that only a few of these ponds remain now. Some have been encroached and others have been filled with mud to cultivate crops, they say. After a survey of the area last month, the department of tourism and Team YUVA NGO counted 68 ponds.