BMDA earns Tk 150.21cr as irrigation charge in NW-region

BMDA earns Tk 150.21cr as irrigation charge in NW-region

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The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has realised around Taka 150.21 crore as irrigation charge in the last 2014-15 fiscal, less by Taka 28.22 crore over the previous 2013-14 fiscal.Recovery of less irrigation charge indicates that the farmers got more rainfall this year than the previous years for their farming fields which is a positive sign of lessening pressure on groundwater to some extent.According to the sources concerned, over 7.58 lakh hectares including 2.87 lakh hectares of irri-boro lands were brought under irrigation facilities through operating 14,336 power-driven deep tube wells (DTWs) in almost everywhere in the country’s northwest region.The irrigated lands have yielded around 34.32 lakh tonnes including 61.08 lakh tonnes of additional crops especially food grain in the region especially the vast Barind tract yearly.Engineer Kamal Uddin, Executive Director of BMDA, said that the region scored significant progress in the crop production sector following the expansion of irrigation facilities along with supplying water from the re-excavated canals and ponds.Even in around 25 years back, only a single crop could be produced in the areas depending on the rainfall. But, at present, at least three crops are being harvested by dint of the expanded irrigation facilities.Around 57.57 percent area of the total cultivable lands of the region has, so far, been brought under the irrigation facilities. Prior to the inception of BMDA the number of DTWs was only 500 in total irrigated area of about 5,000 hectares. At that time, the farmers had to depend on mercy of rainwater for the cultivation.Now, the number of DTWs has enhanced at 14,336 in the command areas irrigating 7.58 lakh hectares of crop lands round the year benefiting more than 5.60 lakh farmer families.In addition to the irrigation activities, the BMDA has been implementing various need-oriented uplift programs aimed at improving the socioeconomic conditions by increasing crop production side by side protecting the region from adverse impact of the environment. It has already executed 30 projects under its command areas from 1985-86 to 2014-15.Currently, nine other projects are being implemented in different districts and around 80 percent of the total work has been completed while the rest is expected to be executed in phases by June 2017.Kamalk Uddin mentioned that some of the projects had initially been executed with the government funds. But, now the BMDA has been implementing the projects with its own funds along with payment of monthly staff salaries since the last couple of years.“We have revived and activated 3,913 non-functional deep tube wells owned by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) in 13 districts of the region at a cost of Taka 198 crore in phases,” he said.Additional 24.48 lakh tonnes of food grain is expected to be produced in the region if the rest 5.83 lakh hectares of non-irrigated land were brought under irrigation.Till last June, the BMDA installed 15,409 deep tube-wells and 78 low lift pumps, excavated 1473.27-kilometer canal, re-excavated 2,995 khash ponds and constructed 14,781 water distribution infrastructures alongside 1,097 drinking water supply installations and 649 cross-dams, which ensured a sound irrigation system.In addition to imparting training to some 1.38 lakh farmers, around 2.52 crore saplings of various fruit, timber and herbal trees were planted in the command area to protect environment and meet the growing demands for fruits and timber in the region.Meanwhile, execution of the projects has yielded a significant success in crop production, creation of ecological balance, road communication and development of socioeconomic condition leading to raising the standard of life and living of the targeted people.“Successful implementation of these projects is creating jobs for the unemployed people and also ensuring various facilities along with an environment- friendly weather in the region,” said the BMDA chief.He mentioned that yearly crop production has been enhanced to 34.32 lakh tonnes from 7.56 lakh, crop intensity to 223 percent from 117 percent while annual rainfall rose to 64 inches from 54.99 inches. -BSS, Rajshahi

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