Pattamundai: Bachharanasi, one of major canals of the Brahmani river was a lifeline for thousands of farmers in Pattamundai block of Kendrapara. But the canal has become shallow with its bed getting heavily silted over years.
“The mouth of the canal is also choked with silt and weeds. We are sad to see it gradually losing its existence. During the tides, water fails to pass through the canal,” local farmers lamented.
Years ago, the canal was full of water throughout the year, feeding enough water to farmlands in over 10 riparian villages. Apart from paddy, farmers grew cash crops and vegetables in hundreds of acres of land.
“People even used its water for drinking purpose. Vegetables were grown in abundance in our localities. We earned enough from farming. Now, farmlands are left dry for lack of water in the canal.
Now, agriculture is at stake, leaving little scope for us to earn,” they added. It was learnt that the canal had bolstered the agrarian economy of villages like Kasananta, Balipada, Talabalipada, Bachhara, Mandapada, Bangalidia, Tanupur, Nandinipur, Balipatana and Pattamundai.
Farmers have long been demanding dredging of the silted canal so that it would hold enough water for the farming. Taking the farmers’ demand into account, the government had undertaken the dredging a few years ago, but later it was abandoned for some reasons.
“No step has been taken to resume dredging. Various outfits have demanded its renovation as soon as possible. The project, vital for sustenance of agriculture, has been a victim of political and administrative apathy,” they added.