JAGATSINGHPUR: Even as paddy crops on vast areas are submerged during rains and damaging crops, little has been done to renovate or repair the sluice gates in Naugaon, Balikuda and Erasama blocks of Jagatsinghpur district.
Sources said Irrigation department had constructed sluice gates in Naugoan, Balikuda and Erasama areas to control surplus rainwater and release it as per the requirement to prevent waterlogging in paddy fields.
But, due to lack of funds and maintenance, several sluice gates in Naugoan, Balikuda and Erasama have been damaged even as the farmers have sought construction of sluice gates in Dhinkia and other areas of Erasama block.
The department had constructed six sluice gates in different areas of Erasama block but those are now lying defunct and gathering rust after coming in contact with saline water. To make matters worse, the dilapidated sluice gates have caused saline water to enter the paddy fields in Erasama block rendering hundreds of hectares of land unfit for cultivation.
Gadbishnupur Sarpanch Sujata Behera said there is no proper water management of Baghadi sluice gate, the main sluice gate of Erasama block. Due to this, the surplus water from Baghadi hits Anandapur sluice gate under Gadbishnupur panchayat and enters paddy fields, leading to waterlogging.
Pointing out another case, Sarpanch of Ambiki panchayat Saudamini Pradhan said due to non-release of water on a regular basis and fishermen blocking water flow by closing the gates, farmers are forced to cut the embankment for the smooth release of surplus water from paddy field. Pradhan has demanded an increase in the number of gates to check to waterlog and proper checks.
Farmers of the three blocks alleged that have been facing the same plight every monsoon, but their repeated pleas to the authorities concerned have fallen on deaf ears as neither the district administration nor the Irrigation Department has taken steps to repair the gates so far.
Executive Engineer, Mahanadi South Division, Cuttack, Basant Rout said a proposal for renovation of nearly 50 dilapidated and rust sluice gates in Jagatsinghpur district, including 12 gates in Erasama block, has been sent to the department. “We have also proposed to erect another gate near Nagari sluice gate where farmers are cutting embankment to release surplus water,” he added.
Meanwhile, Government has planned a permanent solution of the issue of proper maintenance by mechanical division, he added.