Teesta project helps farmers save nearly Tk 95cr in irrigation costs
Farmers in three northern districts, living in the area covered by the Teesta Irrigation Project, saved around Tk 95 crore in irrigation costs during the ongoing Aman season as they got surface water from the Teesta through the canal network at a cheap rate.
The scenario is different from other areas across the country, where farmers are overburdened with additional irrigation costs due to insufficient rainfall and increased fuel prices.
According to the Water Development Board (WDB), about 63,000 hectares of land in 10 upazilas under Nilphamari, Rangpur and Dinajpur along the Teesta project area were brought under the irrigation facilities this year.
The upazilas are Dimla, Jaldhaka, Kishoreganj, Saidpur and Sadar of Nilphamari, Gangachara, Taraganj and Badarganj of Rangpur, and Khansama and Chirirbandar of Dinajpur.
WDB's Rangpur Divisional Chief Extension Officer Abdul Hakim said about 3.8 lakh tonnes of Aman paddy worth around Tk 1,200 crore is likely to be produce in Teesta project area.
This is possible because the farmers got smooth irrigation facilities in the adverse weather condition, he said.
"Some 330km canal network, out of total 712km, is capable of carrying water to the Aman fields and the areas brought under the irrigation facilities. The remaining 382km canal network need repairs. The project would get better result if those were functional," Hakim said.
Nilphamari WDB Sub Divisional Engineer (SDE) Abdul Hannan said they provided the irrigation facilities to the farmers under the project at Tk 1,200 per hectares (247 decimals).
However, according to farmers and agriculture officials, it costs Tk 15,000 to irrigate the same amount of land outside the project area.
That means, the project farmers managed to save Tk 95 crore fuel cost this year while irrigating 63,000 hectares land.
Subid Ali, 55, a farmer of Ganjipur village in Rangpur's Gangachara upazila said, "I cultivated Aman on one acre land within the project area and had to spent only Tk 480 as irrigation cost. It would cost Tk 6,000 outside the project."
Farmers said Aman cultivation was badly hampered due to inadequate rainfall from mid-June to mid-August this year.
To overcome the drought-like situation in the northern districts, farmers outside the project area had to depend on diesel-run water pumps or deep tube wells to irrigate their fields.
Nilphamari WDB Executive Engineer Krishnakamol Chandra Sarker said recently the government allocated funds to repair the canals under the project, which is currently going on.