BALANGIR: As many as 28 of the 56 lift irrigation (LI) points are lying defunct in Gudvela block of the district, hitting the farmers hard.
Failure of the LI points and apathy of the Agriculture Department have resulted in damage to crops in over almost 12,000 hectares.
With only 6 per cent of the crop area in the district being irrigated, LI points are the sole source of irrigation in the district.
Farmers of Gudvela block depend on the Rahul, the Khadand and the Tel rivers during the rabi season for irrigation. Besides irrigation, LI points provide succour for domestic chores and drinking water.
Former block chairman and sitting Zilla Parishad member Ashok Dora said despite being tribal-dominated the block hardly gets any attention from the district administration. Although land for four mega LI points has been identified at Tentelkhunti, Sandhisara, Sasan and Pandigaon, construction work is yet to begin.
He said even though there are LI points which are in working condition, due to low voltage farmers fail to benefit from them. Ghuna, Biramunda and Jamut gram panchayats are the worst affected.
Assistant Engineer of Lift Irrigation Department, Balangir, S Sarangi said 32 more LI points have been sanctioned by the State Government under Biju Krushak Vikash Yojana and the problem will be resolved soon.