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Vikash Sharma

With monsoon playing truant so far this season, several districts in Odisha are now reeling under drought-like situation.

While the deficient rainfall scenario has hit the farmers in the State hard as they are now staring at crop loss, the defunct lift irrigation (LI) points in several parts of Odisha, including at Basudevpur block in Bhadrak district, has added to the woes of the farmers here.

Though the concerned department in Bhadrak claims that only 35 out of the total 227 lift irrigation points are defunct, farmers allege that most of such points have become out of order. As a result, the farmers in the region are yet to reap the benefits of such irrigational facilities.

“A boring was dug but we are facing problems in getting water to irrigate our lands. Though we have brought the matter to the notice of the block and the municipality officials, no step has been taken in this regard so far,” said Kalandi Mallick, a farmer.

The farmers alleged that no urgency is being shown by the concerned department officials in carrying out measures to repair the defunct points. They further said that lack of coordination between Pani panchayat and that the lift irrigation department officials is to be blamed for such a situation.

“Most of the projects are lying defunct. Due to scanty rainfall, we require water to protect the crops,” said Niranjan Barik, a worried farmer from the region.

Dusashan Jena, Lift Irrigation department SDO, said that the projects were handed over to Pani panchayat. The responsibility of repairs of the defunct lift irrigation points is now with the farmers.

“After we handed over the projects, the people did not operate them. As a result, the electrical equipment got damaged. We do not get any assistance for maintenance and it needs to be taken by the farmers. We have been asked to provide technical assistance,” said Jena.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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