RAJSHAHI, Sept 20 (BSS): Apart from various need-oriented uplift programmes, the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has implemented a project for improving the socioeconomic condition of the people living in the Barind tract.
Official sources said the "Barind Integrated Area Development Project (phase-3)" was implemented in all the 25 upazilas under Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.
The Tk 2.84 billion project was designed to bring additional 45,000 hectares under controlled and appropriate irrigation management system through installation of fresh deep tubewells (DTWs).
In addition to construction of electrical networks for the new DTWs, the project ensures supplementary irrigation to another 60,000 hectares on its successful implementation last year.
It also creates employment facility for the small and marginal farmers, day laborers and women in the project area.
Executive Director of BMDA Engineer Abdur Rashid said the Barind tract is the driest part of the country and characterised by high and wavy topographical features, low river network, high summer temperature and other unfavorable climatic conditions for agriculture.
Terming the groundwater as the main source of irrigation, he said no crops would be produced without irrigation in the dried area.
Only in the Barind area, around 0.23 million hectares remain beyond irrigation facility and if this huge land is brought under irrigation nearly 1.6 million tonnes of additional food grain would be produced, he added.
Besides, he said under the project, underground irrigation channel has been constructed for resisting wastage of water.
Abdur Rashid said the project helps to increase food production side by side creating self-employment opportunities and accelerating economic growth in the area.
"We are taking full-length preparations for providing irrigation to the coming Irri-Boro farming fields everywhere in the country's northwest region," he said.
In addition to augmentation of surface water resources and its uses he said that the authority has been enhancing irrigation facilities by using underground water through installation of deep tubewells.
"We are ensuring electrification of irrigation equipment and agro-based industries in the area alongside improving road communication by construction and re-construction of feeder roads," Engineer Rashid said.
"We have almost revived 2569 non-functional deep tubewells owned by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) in 13 districts of the region at a cost of Tk 1.98 million in phases," he said.
Additional 0.74 million tonnes of food grain is being produced through providing irrigation to additional 86,000 hectares of farming fields upon re-launching the DTWs.
The authority has become a self-reliant organization in terms of salary payment to its staffs, he added.