BARGARH:In the dry and dusty landscape of Kharamal village, located on the foothills of Gandhamardan hill range, two farmers depict a picture of contrast. The village comes under Jamseth gram panchayat of Paikmal block, which is often hit by drought. Vast stretches of barren land in Kharamal have lost their water retention capacity due to long dry spell for several years.
Farmers Sitaram Majhi and Dambru Majhi, who have created water harvesting models in their agricultural land, which if replicated can bring an end to drought in the area. Harvesting of rain water is the only solution to the water woes in the area, they said.
Although the village has been hit by two successive droughts in a row including this year, the two farmers have managed to irrigate vegetables and earn profit.
It all began in 2005 when Water Initiatives Odisha, a group of people working on water issues, motivated villagers to develop an integrated ecological revival plan for the village. Locals then revived a community tank in the village but Sitaram and Dambru dug up small water bodies on their land, locally called Muda. During monsoon, the run-off rain water from the hill range would flow through their land and get collected in the Muda. A few years later, the soil moisture content improved with ground water being recharged due to the Mudas. As paddy is water intensive, both Sitaram and Dambru decided to grow vegetables. This season, they are growing bittergourd.
“Initially, I invested `9,000 in the water harvesting structure and cultivated vegetables. In the last six months, I earned `two lakh by growing different kinds of vegetables and I am hoping for another `6,000 from bittergourd crop, which will be ready for harvest in next fortnight,” said Sitaram, who has also developed a vermi-compost pit of his own and does organic farming.
Dambaru went a step ahead and dug up two water harvesting structures. While his water bodies have dried up now, there is a well below one of the structures and it still has three feet of water left. “This will help me cultivate bittergourd throughout this season,” said the confident farmer. Sitaram and Dambaru sell their vegetables in Bartunda market nearby everyday.
Harvesting of rain water is the only solution to the water woes in Kharamal village in Paikmal block
Two farmers managed to irrigate vegetables and earn profits through the process
The two farmers dug up small water bodies, where run-off rain water from hill range gets collected