Patana: Hundreds of farmers belonging to Rathapada, Bhalughar, Musanali and Badapadiapasi villages Thursday alleged that they are not able to irrigate their farmlands and water supply has been stopped as they did not cast votes in favour of a local sarpanch candidate.
The incident was reported from Musakhari panchayat under Patana block of Keonjhar. With mercury on rise at a number of places in the district, the vegetable farmers find no other way out, a source said.
The farmers had met Musakhari sarpanch Bhamamani Das a couple of days ago and requested her to intervene in sorting out their problem. The cultivated crops like mustard, sun flower and vegetables will soon dry out, if would not be irrigated in time, they lamented.
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According to a source, the local farmers were previously irrigating their farmlands by taking water from Aharabandha through a canal, every year. The water body was earlier leased out to a woman self-help group (SHG). The farmers were denied water after they did not vote for a sarpanch candidate whom the women’s group supported.
As a result, the SHG-supported sarpanch candidate lost the recent three-tier rural elections leading to the denial of water to farmlands.
On being contacted, Musakhari panchayat extension officer (PEO) Akshay Kumar Sahu said, “Aharabandha was leased out to a SHG for fish farming purposes at Rs 2,55,000 for a period of three years. As per norms, water should be provided to irrigate farmlands when the water level is above at least seven feet. The block development officer has been duly informed about the incident, after allegation was raised that the SHG has denied despite water level existing at 12 feet.”
Meanwhile, the BDO of Patana Ishwar Chandra Nayak has asked both the parties to come to his office for a discussion and solution.