A comprehensive Tk 2.50 billion project is progressing fast to conserve and ensure best uses of surface water to expedite overall socioeconomic development in the greater Rangpur region amid changed climatic conditions.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) is implementing the five-year term (2019-2024) ‘Expansion of Irrigation in greater Rangpur district through best uses of surface water and conservation of rainwater project (EIRP)’.
Talking to BSS, Project Director of the EIRP and Superintending Engineer of BMDA for Rangpur Circle Engineer Habibur Rahman Khan said thousands of people would enjoy multidimensional benefits after implementing the project.
The project is being implemented in 35 upazilas of Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha districts in greater Rangpur division to promote agriculture making best uses of surface water alongside improving environment, ecology and biodiversity.
“Under the project, re-excavation of canals, beels and ponds, installation of low lift pumps (LLPs), solar power-run dug wells and construction of foot over bridges, cross dams and tree plantation are being implemented,” Khan said.
Re-excavation of these water bodies will increase water holding capacity, facilitate drainage and waterlogged lands will become suitable for agriculture and stored water can be used for irrigation, poultry and fish farming and household activities.
Uses of surface water will reduce dependence on groundwater following implementation of the project which will provide irrigation to 30 hectares of land and supplementary irrigation to 100 hectares of land by utilizing conserved canal water in one kilometer (km) of land, reports BSS.
“Stored water in re-excavated water bodies will substantially reload groundwater tables,” Khan added.
The project has a target of re-excavating 230-km of canals, 11 beels and 118 ponds, installation of 30 solar power-run LLPs, 100 electricity-run LLPs, 50 solar power-run dug wells and plantation of 2.30 lakh saplings of wood, fruit and medicinal plants.
“Implementation of the project will ensure irrigation to 10,250 hectares of land using stored surface water and free 350 hectares of land from water-logging for agricultural activities,” he said.
Besides, the project will allow using renewable energy in irrigating crop lands, enhance cultivation of less irrigation water consuming crops using water from dug wells and help enhance forest resources to improve the environment.
“Construction of 130-km buried pipelines for irrigation from 130 LLPs will help prevent wastage of irrigation water, reduce irrigation cost and increase irrigation efficiency to make agriculture more profitable to farmers,” Khan said.
During this FY, the project has a target of re-excavating 20-km of canals, three beels and 10 ponds and installation of 10 solar power-run LLPs, 10 electricity-run LLPs, 10 solar power-run dug wells and plantation of 31,000 saplings in the project area.
“We’ve already completed 85 percent of the fixed target through re-excavating 18-km of five major canals, a major beel and 12 ponds and planted 39,800 saplings in four upazilas during this fiscal year,” he said.
Chairman of Berubari union in Nageshwari upazila of Kurigram Abdul Motaleb said BMDA has already re-excavated two-km of the Boalerdara Canal and more than 800 families are reaping enormous benefits from the canal water.
Local farmer Kedar Sen said re-excavation of the Boalerdara Canal has become a blessing for local people to use conserved water there for supplementary irrigation, rearing of ducks, fish farming and household activities.
However, local people in some areas alleged that re-excavation of few water bodies are being hindered as some unscrupulous people have taken those lands on long-term lease or creating forged documents.
Ekhlasur Rahman and Nazrul Islam of Durgapur village in Rangpur said some people are allegedly obstructing re-excavation of the Mathiyakhola Beel, with 11.63 acres of land, claiming as their own.
They urged local administrations to recover the land of Mathiyakhola Beel and start re-excavate for conserving surface water so that the people of the area could reap enormous benefits.