|Restoration of water bodies by GVM lauded|
MUSHALPUR, July 6 – The northern belt of Mushalpur subdivision in Baksa district is known for its traditional dams locally known as bunds and irrigation networks constructed and maintained with manual labour through decades of community participation and management centering around Pagladiya and Diring rivers. In addition to these rivers, there are community irrigation networks linked to some perennial sources of underground water, locally known as bhumuk which are used by farmers for watering their paddy fields. However, due to some human and natural activities, some of these perennial water sources started receding recently causing an adverse effect on agriculture.
Gramya Vikash Mancha (GVM), a leading NGO working mostly in the agriculture sector in Nalbari, Baksa and Kamrup districts has started restoration of these natural water bodies. Hand in hand with the existing community bund and irrigation system in Baksa, the GVM started restoration of these natural water bodies under “Diversion Based Irrigation Project” supported by the Jamsetji Tata Trust, Mumbai. It also included construction and renovation of the existing canals and small dams of both clay and concrete from the natural sources. As a part of the project in 2013, a perennial water source of about one km was restored at Jorthan near Bogpara by dredging.
A sluice gate was placed over the existing concrete structure at No 1 Dekadong nijara bund at Bhogpara that helped equal sharing of water to paddy fields by turns to benefit 100 farmer families of Bhogpara, Goroimari and Bangnabari. Previously, water had to be shared in three canals using planks in a hazardous manner.
The second dam of Jorthan stream was constructed as a check bund with a concrete structure in 2013-14, linking Palashguri and Ahopa villages through canals to benefit over 100 families. Previously, due to low level of stream bed, water could not flow to the adjoining canals. The water level rose and flowed to the adjoining canals due to construction of this bund. A nearby broken dam was also repaired during the same time.
Meanwhile, a concrete dam known as Kordoi dam is under construction at No 2 Subanshri. A manual sluice gate has been set up in the concrete structure. The farmers had been facing problems here due to regular breach of the previous clay check bund which was washed away by excess water from Diring and Pagladiya every year. Completion of the dam will help people to share the stream water equally for irrigation. Farmers from three local villages also helped the GVM in the construction.
An underground spring known at Uttar Nijara at No 2 Subanshri was also restored by GVM in 30 days which includes the farmers’ volunteer services for one day. The underground spring had been buried by sand during floods. The sand was dredged to a depth of three feet and length of 700 metres and the perennial stream was restored to benefit 60 farmer families. Similar work of restoration of stream was carried out at No 2 Jorthan by dredging the stream bed to 1.5 km to benefit 90 families.
A total of Rs 4.29 crore sanctioned by the Jamsetji Tata Trust, Mumbai, has been spent in Baksa, Nalbari and Kamrup (Rural) districts on the PDBI (Permanent Diversion Based Irrigation) projects in three phases between 2009 and 2015. In Baksa, the project was implemented in two clusters – Diring and Tamulpur. A total of 12 construction works (nine in Diring and three in Tamulpur) were taken under this project. This includes canal restoration and construction of PDBI structures along the dongs. Even a relatively minor work under the project like the construction of an overhead RCC canal directly benefits around a hundred farming families and help irrigate over 1500 bighas of paddy land. It also saves around 450 man-days of labour gone in repeated repair of the canal.