JAGATSINGHPUR: Even as paddy crops on acres of land remain submerged leading to resentment among farmers, little has been done to renovate or repair the sluice gates in Naugaon, Balikuda and Erasama areas of the district.
Sources said the Irrigation department had constructed sluice gates in Naugoan, Balikuda, Erasama areas to control surplus rain water and to release it as per requirement to avert waterlogging in paddy fields. The sluice gates were erected for smooth conservation and distribution of rain water in the coastal villages. Due to lack of funds and maintenance, several sluice gates in Naugoan, Balikuda and Erasama have been damaged even as the farmers have sought to construct sluice gates in Dhinkia and other areas of Erasama block.
To make matters worse, the dilapidated sluice gates have caused saline water to enter the paddy fields in Erasama block rendering hectares of land unfit for cultivation. The farmers have alleged that the iron gates of many sluicegates in Erasama area have been damaged due to contact with saline water.
An engineer of the Irrigation department said a project proposal has been submitted to the department for construction of new sluice gates and renovation of old ones but fund crunch has emerged as a major impediment. Not only in Erasama, several sluice gates in Naugaon block are in a dilapidated condition causing damage to paddy land. Farmers have been seeking repair of damaged sluice gates at Naugaon, Mareda, Bansa, Kanarpada and Garei areas but in vain.
An example of the authorities’ apathy towards the farmers is a sluice gate which was constructed at the middle of Devi and Gobari rivers in 1982 for providing irrigation facilities to nearly 1,766 hectares of land of Sikhar, Korua, Deiriki, Osakana and other panchyats.
Sarpanch of Kurua panchayat Aranya Nayak said, “Though, I had submitted a memorandum to the administration and Irrigation department to renovate the sluice gates last month, the authorities are paying no heed to the pleas of the farmers”, he added.