February 14, 2009 – Irrigation problem hits Boro farming in Panchagarh – The Daily Star

Prospect of Irri-Boro cultivation in Boda and Debiganj upazilas in Panchagarh district has become bleak as large areas of land cannot be irrigated due to shortage of electricity supply. With drastic fall in electricity supply in the district, power-run tube-wells, both deep and shallow, can lift only a little water. Cracks developed on Boro fields on hundreds of acres of land in Barashashi and adjacent unions under Boda upazila for want of irrigation as deep tube-wells in the areas, conducted by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, failed to lift water from under ground due to low voltage of power during the last 15 days. “After planting we were able to irrigate Boro field only for one day as the Barrind’s No.1 deep tube-well failed to lift water due to low voltage of power during last 15 days. Dried up Boro field has developed cracks. Our Boro plants will dry up within days if the situation continues,” said Abdur Rashid and Abul Kashem, small farmers of Mohishbathan village in Barashashi union under Boda upazila. “We fear huge loss in the current season as we cannot afford to irrigate our Boro field with diesel-run shallow pumps,” they said. “I cultivated Boro on three-bigha of land by taking loan from an NGO but am now facing trouble, as deep tube-well failed to supply water required water,” Waliur Rahman, a small farmer of the same area, told this correspondent. “Several times we informed officials of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority of the matter but got no response to solve the problem,” Omar Faruq, another farmer of the area, said. During a recent visit to the areas, this correspondent saw that many farmers prepared their land but they are yet to sow Boro plant due to lack of irrigation facilities as deep tube-wells failed to supply water. “The problem arises due to low voltage of power. We have nothing to do in this regard,” a sub-assistant engineer at Boda office of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority said.
DAE officials said they have set target to cultivate Boro on about 43,380 hectares of land in the current season with the production target of 1,96,682 tonnes. About 40 percent of the land depends on power-run pumps for irrigation. Connection to about 1400 power-run shallow pumps was given in the district, deputy general manager of Rural Electrification Board in Panchagarh said. Power supply for irrigation in Boda and Debiganj upazilas is awfully scanty as only 4-5 megawatt (MW) is available on an average a day against the requirement of 18 MW, he said, adding that stoppage of power generation in Thakurgaon Power Station caused the situation. Every day power remains off for 14-16 hours in the two upazilas, he said. The Boro farmers who had earlier eyed good yield of paddy due to smooth supply of fertilisers and reduction of its prices have now become frustrated due to shortage of power supply for irrigation in the district.


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