Lungrimadi Irrigation Project left incomplete for three decadesThe project was initiated with an aim to irrigate around 239 hectares of farmland in Swargadwari but given the lengthy delay, farmers have lost all hopes for the project’s completion.
An ambitious irrigation project that was initiated in Swargadwari Municipality of Pyuthan 34 years ago is yet to see completion.
The government had started the construction of Lungrimadi Irrigation Project in 1987 with the objective of irrigating around 230 hectares of land in Swargadwari by channelising water from the Lungri stream of neighbouring Rolpa district.
Under the project, a 12km-long canal was constructed to provide irrigation facilities to around 1,000 local farmers of Sari, Belbas and Barjibang. But over the years, in the absence of maintenance and repair works, the canal has been left in a dilapidated state.
Given the lengthy delay, the farmers have given up all hopes for the successful completion of the project.
“We have been waiting for over three decades but nothing has happened so far,” said Buddhiram Bhandari of Swargadwari-5. “The project started during the Panchayat era and was forgotten for some years with the beginning of the democratic ruling system in 1990. Then came the Maoist insurgency that did more harm than good to development projects. Now with the federal system in place, there is still no hope.”
According to Bhandari, hectares of land in the area have been left fallow due to a lack of irrigation facilities.
“We have to depend on rainfall to cultivate our fields. This year, I was able to transplant paddy in my field after four years, as the country experienced heavy rainfall,” said Bhandari. “We have been anxiously waiting for the project to be completed but we lose hope every year.”
According to the Irrigation Division Office in Pyuthan, a total of Rs130 million has been spent on the project in the past three decades. Aside from the monetary expense, the local residents say that their labour donation has also gone to waste.
“In 2017, the authorities said that water would be released into the canal. All the villagers went to the project site and cleaned the canal but we soon found out that it was just an election hook by political parties and their leaders,” said Shyamlal Regmi of Swargadwari-5. “The irrigation canal project has been an election slogan in each election but none of the political leaders has stepped up to see the project through.”
According to the locals, the condition of the irrigation canal has further deteriorated, as the Water Resource and Irrigation Division Office in Pyuthan has stopped conducting regular maintenance work in the past few years.
In the last fiscal year, the Physical Infrastructure Ministry of Lumini Province had surveyed the irrigation project to decide on its future.
“But we have not received any report or instruction from the ministry yet. We cannot say anything about the irrigation project right now,” said Nabaraj Pokharel, an engineer at the Resource and Irrigation Division Office.
The irrigation canal has been damaged in several places due to frequent landslides. Roads abutting the canal have also been damaged over the years.
“The canal from Jutung stream to Lungri stream is not usable. Major repair and construction work has to be done if the canal is to be used for irrigation,” said Regmi.