Sambalpur: The Jujumura block administration in this district has made successful use of the Centre-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in harvesting stream water for irrigation. The initiative has also provided much-needed employment opportunities to migrant labourers who have returned from various parts of the country, a report said.
The perennial stream water which was only used by people for their daily needs and the excess water went waste due to lack of conservation methods has now been channelised to a tank for use in irrigation of farmlands.
This became possible after the block administration constructed a diversion wall, concrete drain and a canal to channelise the flowing water of the stream into the tank. The store water is now being used to irrigate over 50 hectares of farmlands.
Over the years, MGNREGA has become the main force that is driving water conservation efforts across rural India. Approximately 60 per cent of the resources under MGNREGA are spent on NRM work which focuses on ensuring higher incomes to farmers by improving both the area under cultivation and yield of crops.
The project has also helped the block administration in providing livelihood to the jobless migrant returnees in the area.
The project has been set up at Kuturlatia stream at Jayakud village under Jujumura block in 2020-21 financial year.
When contacted, Biswaranjan Pradhan, programme officer, NREGS in Jujumura block, said that the project was taken up after the block administration decided to conserve stream water for irrigation.
The project work was taken up in three phases. In the first phase, a diversion wall was constructed at an expenditure of Rs 7 crore to stop the stream water from flowing out. Subsequently, a 350-metre long drain was constructed from the diversion wall at an expenditure of Rs 9 lakh to channelise the stream water into a canal.
Later, a soil canal was constructed to take the stream water into the tank which was about 2-km away from the place. The stream water is first stored in the diversion wall which could be called a mini dam. The water stored is later channelised through the drain and canal to the tank from which the farmers draw water to irrigate their farmlands. The water in the tank can be used by farmers to cultivate paddy during kharif and rabi seasons as well as vegetables during the rabi season.
When contacted, BDO Suraj Biswal said the project was taken up to provide work to the migrant returnees during the COVID-induced restrictions. “The project first appeared impossible but work became smooth as we moved ahead. More such projects will be taken up in the block,” he added.