Bhawanipatana: A mega lift irrigation project set up on Ret river at Laitara village under Kesinga block of Kalahandi district has failed to achieve its objective. Farmers alleged that the project has failed to provide water when farmlands are dry. This incidentally is said to be the first mega lift irrigation project in Odisha. It was dedicated to the people by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik December 12, 2015 and was built at a cost of Rs 9 crore with an objective to facilitate all-weather irrigation facilities to 500 hectare of land in Laitara, Jolko and Karlabadi villages. “Seven years have passed, but the project is hardly of any use for us. Our farmlands are dry due to poor rainfall and need water desperately. The project should have been handy when we need water the most,” the farmers lamented. They added that the Ret river has little water to feed the irrigation project. The farmers said that the project needs renovation and modification. In the past, they had staged protests demanding renovation, but in vain.
As per the design of the project, executed by L&T, the water from the river is collected through an intake well and then discharged through a pump to the fields. However, water cannot be collected from the well due to its faulty design, farmers alleged, adding that the location of the intake well, away from the river’s mainstream, is not ideal for filling it up with water. The intake well is now left in a damaged condition. “The project is affected as the intake well is not getting adequate water. A storage area on the river bed needs to be constructed so that the well can get adequate water throughout the year,” some farmers pointed out. Notably, six more mega lift irrigation projects were constructed in the district in 2016 and 2017 at Utkella, Amath, Tundla, Digsara, Hatikhoj and Palam.