Sundargarh: At a time when farmers in most places are facing problems related to irrigation and groundwater depletion, their counterparts in Sundargarh district have found the ‘Farm Pond Project’ as a solution to address both issues.
Many of them are now earning enough to lead a happy life. On behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, which is under Odisha government’s 5-T initiative, Directorate of Horticulture and ‘Jala Bibhajika Mission’, the project is being implemented in 17 blocks of Sundargarh district.
Project director, DRDA, Bhairab Singh Patel said as per the direction of the Odisha government, the ‘Farm Pond’ initiative is being implemented in the district.
“Agriculture Department, Directorate of Horticulture and Jala Bibhajika Mission have been entrusted with the responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries.
They are being permitted to dig up ponds in their lands. The size of the ponds varies according to the area of land owned by the beneficiaries. These ponds have gone a long way in helping farmers,” informed Patel.
According to the size of their land, large, medium and small farmers are getting ponds that measure 20, 15 and 10 square metres respectively.
According to available information, a total of 431 farm ponds have been dug up in the 2020-21 fiscal. Another, 1,840 are in the pipeline. With the implementation of this project, the farmers are no longer facing problems to irrigate their crops.
The quantity of the harvest has increased and along with it their financial conditions. With an aim to provide work opportunity to labourers, the project has been connected with MGNREGS.
So the daily wagers are also being able to earn. At the same time, self-help groups are being strengthened by engaging them to oversee the work.
Jal Bibhajika Mission, project director, Haribandhu Sethi said the farmers are now in a better situation. They have started harvesting on land where cultivation used to be impossible due to lack of irrigation.
Lokeshwar Pradhan, a farmer from Chatakpur area under Hemgiri block, narrated how the project has changed his life.
“I have five acres of land. It was lying useless. After digging up a pond of 15 square metres, I am growing varieties of vegetables. My financial position has improved considerably. The district administration has provided all the support to dig up the pond,” said Pradhan.