Examining Irrigation in Odisha
We have an agrarian economy. Supporting agriculture and making it sustainable is indispensable. To encourage agriculture, availing facilities of irrigation and market for agri-product are vital. But contrary to it the government has failed to provide necessary amenities and ignored the farming community. To explore more about the situation we investigated irrigation facilities at block level of Bargarh district.
Bargarh district is known as the rice bowl of Odisha as it is the largest paddy producing district of Odisha. The district also cultivates pulses, oilseeds, and vegetable. Bargarh comprises two types of land, irrigated and non-irrigated. While blocks of Bargarh, Attabira, Bheden and parts of Barpali are irrigated under Hirakud Dam project, the remaining blocks comprising Bhatli, Bijepur, Sohela, Ambabhona, Padampur, Paikmal, Gaiselet and Jharbandh are rain-fed. We investigated Gaisilat block of Bargarh district as a sample.
Gaisilat block comprises 102 villages under 19 Panchayats. Out of the total 35260 Hectares of the geographical area 23710 Hectares are cultivated. Gaisilet is not benefitted by any major irrigation project. Solely it depends on the gambling monsoon for Kharip crop. Most of the lands are dry types. Hardly any cultivation found in Ravi crop. Lands are fertile but irrigation facilities are not available. The State Government has initiated many projects for irrigations but those are unsuccessful and useless. Funds have been allocated from WODC for check-dam projects in Maedhanumunda, Babebahal, Natapur, Sansahajbahal, Kandagarh villages but due to low quality work these check-dams have become dysfunctional. A few check-dams at BadDunguripali, Dangbahal, Jammal, and Gaisilet are affected by flood hits in 2002 and yet not repaired.
There is a continuous and long pending demand to connect Malken Nala and Darpan Jor. This project may help in shedding a huge area of land. The proposed Mega lift irrigation project on river Ong at Jamutpali, will irrigate lands of Jamutpali, kendubhata, Halankanasi, etc. Apart from this there are more than 500 ponds and water reservoirs which need excavation to increase the storage capacity. There are 42 watershed projects going on in the block but hardly any in use.
We investigated further that this situation in the area is due to corruption mentality of the officers and local politicians. As there is no other resources to earn a livelihood and no major business in the area, after the harvesting of Kharip season folks from this region migrate to different parts of India like Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh for their bread and butter.