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BSS
  13 Jan 2022, 12:17

Baranai river rubber dam becomes blessings for Rajshahi farmers

  By Dr Aynal Haque

  RAJSHAHI, Jan 13, 2022 (BSS) - Rubber dam the Baranai River has become a
blessing for farmers as they are being benefited enormously by availing
irrigation water from the embankment in the region for the last couple of
years.

   The dam also eased the living and livelihood conditions of hundreds of
thousands of people residing on both sides of the Baranai River.

   Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) installed the dam in
Baranai River at Jagadishpur of Puthiya Upazila in the district around two
years back, opening up fortunes of scores of people.

  At present, they are cultivating around 15 types of crops and vegetables,
including potato, brinjal, onion and mustard, on around 5,000 hectares of
char (river bed) lands in Manda, Bagmara, Naldanga and Puthiya upazilas
availing irrigation water accumulated by the rubber dam.

  Yeasin Ali, a farmer of Kachari Koaliapara, said the farmers had to suffer
a lot before installing the rubber dam as the river remained dry almost round
the year just after ending the monsoon. But the odd situation has gone at
present.

  Job opportunities for thousands of people were also created centering the
embankment. Thousands of farmers and fisherman are getting benefit from the
dam, he said.

   Rezaul Karim, Assistant Engineer of BMDA, said they built a 62-metre
rubber dam at the cost of Taka 14.30 crore on the bank of the Baranai River,
which is flowing through Bagmara and Naldanga Upazilas.

   Another part of the river passes through Manda, Mohanganj, Naohata and
Shilmaria Union of Puthia Upazila.

   Due to the dam, the river is filled with water throughout the year that
brought the lands adjacent to the river under irrigation facilities, karim
said.

   The farmers are now cultivating crops three times by using this water for
irrigation, he added.

   On the other hand, many domestic species of fish are found in the river. A
few hundred people in the area are maintaining their livelihood by catching
these fish.

   Karim said water also remains in about 15 beels (water bodies), including
Beel Kumari, Khaira Beel and Mora Beel round the year. The farmers are now
getting water from the beels for cultivation.

   Earlier, during the dry season, the river remained waterless. With the
establishment of the dam, the level of underground water has increased. As a
result, water is available in the tube-wells of the area during the dry
season.

   Engineer Karim said the dam project not only changed the farmers' fate,
but also maintained the balance of environment.

   Terming the rubber dam project as an epoch-making step of the government,
Upazila Agriculture Officer Razibur Rahman said emphasis should be given on
expanding the scheme to boost production through bringing more other
uncultivated lands under irrigation.

   Jahangir Alam Khan, Coordinator of Integrated Water Resource Management
(IWRM) Project, said promotion of surface water irrigation instead of
depending only on the groundwater-based ones is very important for the region
to mitigate water scarcity.

   BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said restriction has been
imposed on furthermore installation of deep-tube-well in the drought-prone
areas to discourage the extraction of underground water.

  The BMDA will take the lead to increase surface water use through promoting
rainwater accumulating technologies in the days to come, he added.

   He said around 1,080 kilometers underground irrigation pipelines were
constructed aimed at reducing the loss of irrigation water by around 40
percent in the Barind area.

  "We've a plan of elevating the surface water-based irrigation to 30 percent
from the existing 10 percent by 2030 to lessen the gradually mounting
pressure on underground water," he said.

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