BMDA earns Tk 1.50b as irrigation charge in northwestern region

Dhaka,  Sat,  19 August 2017
Published : 05 Aug 2017, 22:05:07
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BMDA earns Tk 1.50b as irrigation charge in northwestern region

RAJSHAHI, Aug 05 (BSS): The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has realised around Tk 1.50 billion as irrigation charge during the last 2016-17 fiscal, less by Tk 83.3 million over the 2015-16 fiscal.

According to the sources concerned, over 0.62 million hectares including 0.29 million hectares of Irri-Boro lands were brought under irrigation facilities through operating 15,517 power-driven deep tubewells (DTWs) in almost everywhere in the country's northwest region.

The irrigated lands have yielded more than 3.5 million tonnes including 2.7 million tonnes of additional crops especially food grain in the region especially the vast Barind tract yearly.

Engr Abdur Rashid, executive director of BMDA, told the news agency 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 around 25 to 30 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 58.15 per cent 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 the mercy of rainwater for the cultivation.

Now, the number of DTWs has increased to 15,517 in the command areas irrigating 0.33 million hectares of crop lands round the year benefiting more than 0.54 million farming families.

In addition to the irrigation activities, the BMDA has been implementing various need-oriented uplift programmes 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 32 projects under its command areas since 1985-86 to 2015-16.

Currently, 11 other projects are being implemented in different districts where around 60 per cent of the total work has been completed while the rest is expected to be executed in phases by June 2020.

Abdur Rashid 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 4,232 non-functional deep tube wells in the region in different phases," he said.

Additional 2.44 million tonnes of food grain is expected to be produced in the region if the rest 0.58 million hectares of non-irrigated land were brought under irrigation. Till last June, the BMDA installed 11550 deep tube-wells and 221 low lift pumps, re-excavated 1838.77-kilometer canal, reactivated 4263 inoperative DTWs, re-excavated 3078 khash ponds and constructed 1004 water distribution infrastructures alongside 1,447 drinking water supply installations and 155 dug wells and 726 cross-dams, which ensured a sound irrigation system.

In addition to imparting training to some 1,43,397 farmers, around 25.6 million 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, implementation of the projects has yielded a significant success in crop production and making an ecological balance.

"The projects are creating jobs for the unemployed people and also ensuring various facilities along with an environment-friendly weather in the region," said the BMDA chief.
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