UMERKOTE: With deficit rainfall and inadequate irrigation coverage, farmers of Nabarangpur district are staring at a drought-like situation, dreading a poor kharif crop.
In a district where 80 per cent people depend on agriculture which is rain-fed, only 10 per cent farmland is irrigated. Making it worse, this year, Nabarangpur has received 66.64 per cent less rainfall till August. As a result, over 31 per cent farmlands in the district have reported little or no cultivation.
Poor irrigation coverage hasn’t helped. In 2006, the district administration proposed the State government to facilitate 35 per cent irrigation in each block. The proposal was accepted, and check dams and waterways were subsequently constructed in blocks. As of now, 98 lift irrigation projects are irrigating 4,035 hectare (ha) land and 465 tube wells catering to 4,066 ha. Similarly, Kusumjhar small irrigation project (2008) is supplying water to 650 ha under Nabarangpur block.
But many major projects are either not operational or yet to take off. The Bhaskel project which irrigates 3,000 ha in Umerkote block is facing siltation issues, while Phuljhari minor irrigation project which caters to 2,000 ha including 23 check dams in Chandahandi is unable to function as its damaged canals are awaiting repair. Phuljhari is only able to aid farmers during kharif season due to low rainfall.
In 2013, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for a project with an estimated cost of Rs 236 crore to supply water to lower catchment areas of Indravati reservoir through canals. The project aimed to cater to around 26,000 ha in Tentulikhunti, Nandahandi and Nabarangpur blocks. Following hue and cry by farmers, the government had also revised the project’s cost to Rs 618 crore in 2019 but no progress has been made yet.
This apart, the State government’s proposal for Turi-Gunihat and TEL integrated irrigation project in the district is awaiting the Centre’s nod since 2014. Nabarangpur Collector Ajit Misra said the government is aware of the problems of farmers. The district administration has sent proposals to set up more irrigation projects by constructing check dams. “The government has assured to complete the projects before 2023. Projects could not start on time due to the pandemic,” he said.
1,00,128 ha Land cultivated for kharif
66.64 pc Less rainfall till now
10pc Land irrigated
31 pc Farmlands yet to be cultivated
98 Lift irrigation projects
465 Tube wells
- Phuljhari canal damaged
- Bhaskel dam yet to be desilted
- Indravati project awaits work
- Turi-Gunihat and TEL projects yet to get Centre nod