KENDRAPARA: Farmers of the district have been struggling to drain out rainwater from their paddy fields due to non-functioning of sluice gates of irrigation projects and blocking of river by fishermen for illegal fishing.Sources said large tracts of agricultural land in Mahakalapada, Ranjagar, Rajkanika and Aul blocks were inundated following the low pressure induced rain which lashed the district for five days.
But the illegal fishing by fishermen by blocking the rivers and creeks at many places and non-functioning of irrigation sluice gates have pushed the farmers into further predicament. On Monday, some farmers started harvesting the paddy from the water-logged fields with the help of boats as the officials failed to help them save their crops.
Abhiram Samal, a farmers’ leader, alleged that large number of fishermen illegally blocked the river and creeks in Mahakalapada, Ranjagar, Rajkanika and Aul blocks of the district. As a result, farmers are facing water-logging in their paddy fields. They blocked the river water at various points to check the movement of fish and catch it, he added.
Saroj Sutar of Rajkanika said, “Rainwater is not draining out from our fields as several drainage systems and sluice gates on canals are lying defunct.”Meanwhile, BJP leader and former minister Bijay Mohapatra on Monday visited several water-logged paddy fields in Mahakalapada and asked the agriculture officials to drain out rainwater from the paddy fields.
When contacted, Sub-Collector of Kendrapara Kanhu Charan Dhir said action will be taken against the people indulged in illegal fishing by blocking river water. Similarly, steps are being taken to repair all the defunct sluice gates of irrigation projects, he added.