Farmers in Tirahut, Saptari worry after paddy fields dried upBoring machines purchased at Rs 13 million lies unused
The once green rice fields are now covered with wilted crops, says Rajendra Yadav, a farmer from Tirahut Rural Municipality in Saptari district.
“We didn’t get enough rain this season. I lost all paddy saplings due to a shortage of water,” Yadav said.
Farmers in Tirahut depend on monsoon rains or underground water for paddy plantation since there is no irrigation facility. To mitigate the farmers’ woes, the rural municipal office purchased deep boring machines for Rs 13 million in the fiscal year 2017-18 and 2018-19. However, they have been of little help to the farmers.
Manoj Kumar Yadav, chairman of Tirahut Ward No 4, said that the boring machines were yet to be distributed.
“We were told that the municipal office had purchased deep boring machines at Rs 13 million to irrigate the fields. The office hasn’t distributed them yet,” he said.
The boring machines have been kept at local police posts for safekeeping.
“The machines have been stored at two police posts in Lohajara and Trikol. The municipal office plans to put them to use this fiscal year,” said Hemanta Kumar Baharkher, chairman of the rural municipality.
Meanwhile, paddy fields in the rural municipality have started developing cracks due to insufficient rainfall.
“The crops are also being blighted by diseases,” said Manoj Kumar.
According to the records kept by the district office, there are around 70,000 hectares of cultivable land in Saptari, and nearly 60 per cent of the area depends on rainwater for farming.
Bhogananda Mahatman, chairman of Tirahut Ward No 3, said that he received 20 deep boring machines from the municipal office only a week ago.
“We have been unable to distribute the machines because they cannot fulfil the needs of all farmers. We will begin distributing the machines after we get more machines,” said Mahatman.
There’s no exact data on how many boring machines the office of Tirahut Rural Municipality has purchased so far. Both the chief administrative officer and the accountant of the office were unavailable when the Post tried to contact them for comments.
Baharkher said that he would direct the respective ward chairmen to take stock of the situation and distribute boring machines on a priority basis.
“Our fields are drying up and the machines lie unused. The local government has invested a lot of money to procure those machines. They should be used,” said Bhuneshwor Yadav, a local farmer.