Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government’s assurance of supplying water to all water-stressed districts of the State falls flat when it comes to Koraput and Rayagada districts.

The irrigation projects in several areas in both districts have been lying defunct for several years leading to acute water crisis. Forget about agriculture, people of these parts are facing acute drinking water crisis. With the summer approaching, they are currently at their wit's end.

Take the case of Panchadapada village under Dasamantapur block in Koraput district. Though, the State government has come up with an irrigation project in the village by spending crores of rupees, it has been lying defunct for years owing to several reasons. As a result, the project has been of no use for agricultural purposes. Moreover, the tribal villagers are facing severe drinking water crisis. They are forced to collect water by walking miles and digging small puddles.

“We don’t have any facility of drinking water in our village. We are forced to walk miles to collect water. However, the road is pretty rough and we are wasting hours every day. We are not getting time even to go to work. It has now become difficult for us to earn our living,” said Daina Saunta a villager.

The villagers have urged the local administration to provide drinking water facilities at the village.

Responding to the villagers’ plea, the district administration has assured to solve the crisis soon.

“We will discuss about the issue in our next meeting and try to solve the crisis as soon as possible,” said Zilla Parishad president Sasmita Meleka.

Similarly, several farmers at Sampini village under Gunupur block in Rayagada district are fuming over the defunct irrigation project.

The Water Resource Department of Odisha government set up an irrigation project in the village under Biju Krushak Vikas Yojana (BKVY) in 2013. As many as 62 deep tube wells were dug in the village under the scheme. However, only three to four tube wells are currently functioning and the rest are defunct which has led to the water crisis in the region.

Though the villagers have apprised their problems several times to the block administration, it seems that it has fallen on deaf ears.

“The irrigation project has been lying defunct and of no use. The government should take steps to repair the tube wells so that the farmers in the area will be benefitted,” said Majhi Sabara, a farmer.