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No water for rabi crops from Odisha's Bhaskel dam this year

Sources said that over the years, lack of maintenance and siltation have reduced the dam's storage capacity by over 60 per cent as the reservoir has reportedly not been cleaned.

Published: 22nd November 2021 11:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2021 11:10 AM   |  A+A-

Dried up canal of the Bhaskel dam

Dried up canal of the Bhaskel dam. (Photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

UMERKOTE: Blame it on lack of maintenance and siltation or reduced rains over the months, Bhaskel Dam's water storing capacity has reduced to an extent that it cannot used for irrigating crops in the upcoming rabi season. 

Bhaskel Irrigation Project authorities in a meeting with the local administration and farmers at Umerkote on Saturday announced that water is insufficient in the reservoir and will not be released to meet irrigation needs this season. 

The project has two canals which, for last 16 years, are opened alternatively every year due to less water in the dam. Sources said that over the years, lack of maintenance and siltation have reduced the dam's storage capacity by over 60 per cent as the reservoir has reportedly not been cleaned since its establishment in 1961. The dam has a capacity to irrigate 4,300 hectare (ha) in Umerkote block but due to declining capacity, can irrigate only around 900 ha this year, said official sources. 

Bhuban Majhi, a farmer, said the government is claiming to provide 35 per cent irrigation facility in each block but on the other hand, projects like Bhaskel won’t release any water for rabi crops this year. It reflects irresponsibility of the Irrigation authorities, he sighed. 

Contacted, Bhaskel irrigation project’s assistant engineer (AE) Niranjan Sahu said, this year,  only 38 per cent of water was stored in the dam due to lack of rain. Secondly, due to siltation and lack of maintenance, catchment capacity of the reservoir has come down drastically. It was therefore decided not to release water for rabi season, he said. 

The meeting was attended by Pani Panchayat president Vidyadhar Jena, secretary Kishore Sahu, Umerkote tehsildar N Jagjivan Chowdhury, former Umerkote municipality chairman Jhadeshwar Mohanty and farmers. 



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