Govt to extend Rs150m in districts facing scant rainfallThe government has finally decided to address the problem of scant rainfall faced by eight eastern and central Tarai districts during the ongoing rice plantation season, as it has introduced a relief package worth Rs150 million to purchase various equipment to irrigate dry paddy fields.
The government has finally decided to address the problem of scant rainfall faced by eight eastern and central Tarai districts during the ongoing rice plantation season, as it has introduced a relief package worth Rs150 million to purchase various equipment to irrigate dry paddy fields.
The money will be used in Dhanusa, Siraha, Saptari, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Bara, Parsa and Rautahat districts to install shallow tubewells, purchase submersible water pump sets and repair micro irrigation projects, according to the Ministry of Agricultural Development.
This effort, the ministry believes, will not only help the eight Tarai districts to tackle the problem of shortage of rainfall in the current fiscal year but in the coming years as well.
But the offer made in the final days of rice plantation season is not expected to bring much relief to paddy farmers.
The problem of scant rainfall during paddy plantation season has been recurring in these Tarai districts for a long time.
This has always delayed paddy plantation, leading to low yields. It is believed rice plantation will be affected in these districts this year as well, as the plantation season is about to end.
Already low rainfall and soaring temperatures have led to formation of cracks on farmlands in these districts and in places where paddy was transplanted seedlings have turned yellow because of shortage of water.
To address this problem, the ministry on Sunday decided to distribute 2,000 shallow tubewells worth Rs140 million in eight districts of eastern and central Tarai.
These shallow tubewells should be distributed in such a manner that each of the district receives at least 100 of those equipment, the ministry said launching a relief package for districts affected by dry weather and drought.
The ministry is also providing 200 submersible water pump sets and delivery pipes worth Rs5 million in the eight Tarai districts to extract water from rivers, wetland and lakes for irrigation purpose, says a statement issued by the ministry.
Also, a fund of Rs3.9 million is being released to repair micro irrigation projects and canals in the eight Tarai districts.
The ministry has also directed the Department of Agriculture to coordinate with Agricultural Development Project-Janakpur to identify the number of deep boring plants that must be installed in eight Tarai districts.
This is not the first time the government has tried to address the perennial problem of water shortage in some of the district in central and eastern Tarai.
In April 2016, the government had planned to launch a scheme, ‘Prosperous Tarai-Madhes Irrigation Special Programme’, to provide water to parched farmlands in eight drought-prone districts.
The five-year Rs4.44-billion programme designed for Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa districts, however, was never rolled out.
The Ministry of Irrigation had even tabled the ambitious programme for discussion at the parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
At that time, the irrigation ministry had also informed that use of solar-powered shallow tube wells would be a viable solution to increase agricultural production in those areas until big irrigation projects were developed.
The ministry, at that time, had also proposed to develop the Sunkoshi Marine Diversion Multipurpose Project to provide irrigation facility to the central Tarai districts.