Behera: The Odisha government has harped on boosting the agriculture sector by strengthening irrigation, but many check dams and other facilities in Dharmagarh area of Kalahandi district have been lying defunct. As a result, the farming has been badly affected. Reports said, over 15 check dams and three dykes have been built in the waterstarved Dharmagarh area with the aim of ensuring water conservation, irrigation and recharging groundwater. “All the check dams have failed to serve their purpose.
Farmlands in nearby areas are deprived of irrigation water. To compound problems, groundwater level has been plummeting. Water conservation is a far cry,” the farmers lamented. They added that only structures of the check dams can be seen, but they are of no use for irrigation. “Huge funds invested in these projects have gone down the drain. The contractors concerned have botched up the projects and minted money,” the farmers rued. An information plaque has been put up near a check dam across a creek here with the names of different projects.
However, only the names are there, the projects have failed to give relief to the farmers. The Irrigation department has constructed three dykes in Atharnala area while the block administration has built 15 check dams.
Locals alleged that all these check dam projects have been built within a limited area. They said the projects having failed to deliver the goods and have become cash cows for engineers, contractors and a handful of officials. The farmers said, “Proper investigation into the matter can only unearth the extent of the irregularitiesd committed through check dams and dykes.” Asked about ineffectiveness of the check dams, engineer Birendra Meher tried to evade the issue, saying these projects have been built for benefit of people.