Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Hundreds of farmers have alleged that a minor irrigation project at Deras dam under Chandaka area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar has been obstructed illegally. As a result, around 400 acres of land is not getting irrigated putting the livelihood of several farmers in the area at stake.

Farmers of around five villages in the area have expressed their resentment as the canal meant for irrigation has been covered and turned into a personal road.

“Triveni Company has covered the canal coming from Deras dam and as a result we are not able to do any agricultural activities. Though we have requested the company authorities to unblock the canal several times, they are not paying any heed to our requests,” alleged a local farmer.

“We are poor people. We are totally dependent on agriculture. Our livelihood is at stake as we are not getting water through the canal for the last two years,” complained another farmer.

Bhubaneswar MP and BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi visited the spot on Thursday and held discussion with the local people and officials of Irrigation Department in this regard. 

As per reports, local people tried to remove the illegal obstruction and recover the canal in presence of Sarangi. Later, it was decided that a letter will be sent to the State Irrigation Department to remove the encroachment within three days, otherwise the farmers will remove the encroachment and recover the canal by themselves.

“We have one aim and that is to provide water to the farmers from Deras dam. An influential woman with the help of his colleagues has obstructed the irrigation project. A State government employee has also extended his full support in the matter,” said Sarangi.

“As per the map shown by the State Irrigation Department, 400m of land has been encroached. When we dug few places on the encroached land, we found concrete channel of the irrigation project which has been obstructed. It’s sheer injustice to the poor farmers of the area. We strongly protest against it. For the benefit of the farmers we have to remove the obstruction and recover the irrigation project. As we don’t want to take law into our own hands, we will follow the proper procedure. We will send a letter with all the related supporting documents to the Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department requesting to take proper action to remove the illegal encroachment within three days. If any action is not taken, farmers in the area will remove the obstruction and dig canals by themselves,” she added. 

The reaction of the concerned government official and the state government could not be obtained on the allegations.