Frequent power outage coupled with lack of rain hampers irrigation to Irri-boro fields during the ongoing cultivation season.
Visiting different areas of the district during the last few days, this correspondent found that cracks have developed on the fields due to the situation.
“I have cultivated boro paddy on two bighas of land after harvesting wheat but I could not arrange irrigation to my paddy fields on a regular basis as the power pumps often become inoperative due to frequent electricity disruption,” said Md Abdus Salam, a farmer of Hamchiapur village in Pabna Sadar upazila.
"We are totally dependent on irrigation pumps as water bodies like beels have dried up due to lack of rain this summer," added Salam, who now fears production fall.
Thousands of farmers of the district are in the same boat.
"We had a target of boro cultivation on 60,335 hectares of land in nine upazilas of the district this season with a production target of 2,31,529 tonnes. But the target may not be achieved as the farmers cannot smoothly operate their power pumps due to electricity crisis. Lack of rainfall has worsened the situation," said Md Mostafizur Rahman, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Pabna.
Md Abdul Motin, general manager of Pabna Palli Bidyut Samity, said there are 5,583 electricity-run pumps under it for irrigation in the district.
“Now we are getting only 45/48 MW of electricity supply against the daily requirement of 88MW during the peak IRRI-boro season. Due to lack of power supply from the national grid we could not ensure smooth power supply for irrigation,” he said.
The electricity crisis also disturbs in life in general.
Md Ziaul Islam, assistant engineer of Pabna municipality, said the town dwellers are suffering due to acute shortage of power and consequent water supply as the pumps cannot run properly due to random power outages, low voltages and decline in water level amid the drought-like situation.