Bargarh: Three irrigation projects in Ambabhona block of Bargarh district are lying defunct due to various reasons. A total amount of approximately Rs 100 crore has been spent for setting up the projects. However, now it times that the entire amount has gone to waste as the block once more faces a drought-like situation.
Currently a large portion of farmlands in the block have developed cracks for the lack of water. Paddy crops of many farmers have dwindled as there is not an adequate supply of water. Farmers are worried as to what the future holds for them.
To ease the plight of the farmers, the Odisha government had launched the ‘Parvati Giri Mega Irrigation Project’. Under this scheme, three irrigation projects at a cost of Rs 99.69 crores were constructed in Chikhili, Tamadei and Antaradi (Jamapali) areas of Ambabhona block. They were made operational in 2018, but soon went kaput.
The objective of the three irrigation facilities was to irrigate 4,720 hectares of agricultural lands belonging to 41 villages in the riparian zone of the Mahanadi river.
The Chikhili irrigiation project was target to irrigate 2,000 hectare of farmlands in Chikhili, Ruchida, Narangpur, Badasareipali, Benianpali, Bhalutal, Sahlepali, Barangakote and Bhukta villages and fill up 14 ponds. This project was constructed at a cost of Rs 42,24,00,000.
Similarly, spending Rs 29,57,00,000, Tamadei project was constructed with an aim to irrigate 1,400 hectare of farmlands in Bungapali, Lether, Ramkhol, Udeipali, Uttam, Lelehar, Chandipali, Tileimal, Darlipali, Hatikhuja and Lakhanpur. Besides this, a total of 11 ponds were supposed to get water from the facility.
The Antaradi facility was set up with the aim of providing water to 1,300 hectare of farmlands in Samapali, Kapasira, Satidrha, Baigapali, Ludupali, Ambabhona, Ghughurapali, Antaradi, Kahneipali, Budhipali, Bugabugi, Kusamuda, Banjhipali and Jamapali and 15 ponds.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had inaugurated the projects through video conferencing September 8, 2018. After the inauguration of the projects, farmers were hopeful that their days of sufferings would end. But that did not happen. Their hopes were dashed to the ground.
Secretary of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Krushak Sangathan, Shankar Khamari said the farmers have been demanding for a barrage in Mahanadi river. But, nothing has been done. As a result, farmers continually face shortage of water during the harvesting season.
Expressing his concern over the failure of the project, ex-sarpanch Saroj Danasena said that in addition to technical faults, deficit of power has rendered the projects useless. “I urge the concerned authorities to do an inspection and take measures so that the projects would deliver results,” he said.
When contacted, Irrigation department engineer Samir Sahu said release of water from the facilities depends on rainfall in upper end. “Presently, water is being supplied from the three irrigation facilities,” he informed.