15 Jul 2021, 13:57

Canal re-excavation turns 6,100 hectares of land cultivable

RANGPUR, July 15, 2021 (BSS) - Re-excavation of 30-kilometre portions of five extinct canals has freed 6,100 hectares of land from water-logging after three decades turning those cultivable benefiting 19,575 farmers of 75 villages in greater Rangpur district.

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has conducted the re-excavation work for conserving surface water creating an opportunity to provide irrigation to the 6,100 hectares of land and supplementary irrigation to more 2,800 hectares of land.

“The canal re-excavation will enable farmers to produce an additional 30,500 tonnes of crops worth Taka 60 crore annually and improve livelihoods of rural people alongside improving environment, ecology and biodiversity,” a BMDA official said.

BMDA is re-excavating 230 kilometres of extinct canals and rivers under its five-year (2019-2024) term ‘Expansion of irrigation in greater Rangpur district through best uses of surface water and conservation of rainwater (EIR)’ project spending Taka 250.56 crore.

Re-excavation of 4.50-km portion of the Mora Teesta canal, 3.50-km of the Ghirnoi canal, 8-km each of the Chatra canal and Shalmara canal in Rangpur and six-km portion of the Boalerdara canal in Kurigram already completed during the last one year.

Talking to BSS, beneficiary farmers, villagers and local public representatives said partial re-excavation of the five extinct canals has created opportunities to use surface water for irrigation, forestation, rearing ducks and fish farming and household activities.

Farmer Mashiur Rahman of village Sangkarpur in Kalupara union of Badarganj upazila in Rangpur said re-excavation of 4.50-km portion of the Mora Teesta canal has revived water flow in the canal improving drainage of rainwater and floodwater.

“The re-excavated canal recently carried out rainwater swiftly to the river Jamuneswari freeing my 2.62 hectares of land from water-logging for the first time in three decades. I am cultivating Aman rice on the land,” he said.

Golam Mortuza, a farmer of village Kazipara in Bishnupur union of Badarganj upazila, said he could never imagine that his 1.50 hectares of land might become free from water-logging and cultivable again even during the rainy season.

“Re-excavation of 3.50 kilometre portion of the extinct Ghirnoi canal has freed my land from water-logging,” he said, adding that he can cultivate three crops, including Aman rice, now annually on the land.

Chairman of Berubari union in Nageshwari upazila of Kurigram Abdul Motaleb said BMDA has already re-excavated 6-km portion of the 12-km long Boalerdara canal benefitting 6,000 farmers of 25 villages.

“Re-excavation of the canal has become a blessing for 40,000 local people. They can use its conserved water now for irrigation and supplementary irrigation, rearing of ducks, fish farming and household activities,” he said.

Farmer Abdul Halim of village Char Berubari in the same union said re-excavation of the canal has freed his six bighas of land from water-logging paving an opportunity to cultivate three crops there annually.

Farmer Kaikobad Mandal of village Baro Bandanpara in Chatra union of Pirganj upazila in Rangpur said re-excavation of 8-km portion of the 10-km long Chatra canal has turned 900 hectares of land cultivable in the area.

“I am cultivating Aman rice on my five bighas of land, now free from water logging, for the first time in the last three decades,” he said, adding that re-excavation of the canal has made 19,000 people of 12 villages happy.

Farmer Badsha Miah of village Bhagbanpur in Bhangni union of Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur said re-excavation of 8-km portion of the 16-km long Shalmara canal has freed his three acres of land from water-logging enabling him to cultivate Aman rice now.

Talking to BSS, Project Director of the EIR project and Superintending Engineer of BMDA for Rangpur Circle Engineer Habibur Rahman Khan said thousands of people would enjoy multidimensional benefits after implementation of the project by 2024.

“We are implementing the comprehensive EIR project to conserve and ensure best uses of surface water to expedite socioeconomic development in 35 upazilas of Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha in greater Rangpur district,” he said.

Re-excavation of extinct water bodies will increase water holding capacity, facilitate drainage and reload groundwater table alongside promoting agriculture ensuring best uses of surface water reducing dependence on groundwater in greater Rangpur district.

“Conserved surface water in every one-kilometre length of re-excavated canals will provide irrigation to 30 hectares of land and supplementary irrigation to 100 hectares of land,” Engineer Khan added.

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