Infrastructural development yields 12.35 lakh tonnes additional crops
By Md Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, Feb 8, 2024 (BSS) - Around 12.35 lakh tonnes of additional crops are being produced every year for need-based infrastructural developments in the country's northwest region including its Barind area, an official said.
Development works including deep tube-wells installation and reactivation, derelict canals and ponds re-excavation, submersible canals construction and expansion, and cross dams, rubber dams and connecting roads construction contribute to additional crop production, Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA)'s Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said.
Installation of pontoons in rivers and low lift pumps in rivers and canals, prepaid meters in irrigation deep tube-wells, supply of drinking water from irrigation deep tube-wells and excavation of solar power-driven dug-wells and solar power-driven irrigation pumps also accomplished under this development works, he said.
The BMDA, ever-largest irrigation-providing state-run entity, has implemented these uplift projects in all 16 districts in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions during the last 15 years.
With installation of 3,236 deep tube-wells, 3,112 other non-functional deep-tube-wells were reactivated for bringing around 1.5 lakh hectares of land under controlled irrigation side by side transforming those into three-cropping fields from double-cropping.
Instead of the previously earthen canals, 7,819-kilometer new concretized submersible canals were constructed with expanding another 1,404-kilometer in surrounding areas of each tube-well.
The development works saved 570 hectares of farming land with resisting water from being wastages as 12,031 hectares of lands were freed from water-logging situation.
So, 3.4 lakh tonnes of additional crops are being produced after bringing 89,000 hectares of land under irrigation every year, Rashid said.
The BMDA has re-excavated 1,483-kilometer derelict canals and 1,067 ponds for producing around 2.15 lakh tonnes of additional crops annually through bringing 52,500 hectares of land under supplementary irrigation with surface water.
The region saw significant progress in the crop production following the expansion of irrigation facilities along with supplying water from the re-excavated canals and ponds.
Rashid said they have also arranged irrigation for around 20,700 hectares of land with surface water through installing 11 pontoons in rivers and 745 low lift pumps in rivers and canals.
Around 20,000 households are getting safe drinking water from dug-wells in some drought-prone high Barind tract area where the existing shallow and deep tube-wells are yet to reach due to various reasons.
The villagers are not only using the water for drinking and other household purposes but also cultivating various less-irrigation consuming cereal crops and vegetables after the use of the surface water.
Around 750 hectares of land have been brought under vegetable farming through operating 413 dug-wells. More than 2,250 farmers were imparted training on how to operate the pumps with using and promoting soft-irrigation.
So far, 420 dug-wells with an equal number of solar power panels were installed bringing 33,750 people under safe drinking water supply coverage providing irrigation to 1,350 hectares of lands in 197 villages.
The solar pumps are being used to fetch water from those dug wells. As a result, farmers' families are getting water through the water distribution installations and 1.5-inch diameter pipeline easily for irrigation and household uses.
The solar panels are also being used for lighting the pump house areas and as a funnel for harvesting rainwater which is also recharging subterranean water level.
"We have installed 7,509 prepaid meters in irrigation pumps for preventing wastages of both water and power and for lessening the farmers cost for irrigation," said Engineer Rashid.
It has also constructed 1212 drinking water supply installations ensuring safe drinking water to around eight lakh rural populations.
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 over Bagmara and Naldanga upazilas.
Another part of the river falls at 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 fish species 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, he said.