A success story written by diverting water

By TheHindu on 17 Nov 2016

How diversion-based irrigation system changed the lives of this Odisha village?

The residents of this tiny village tucked into the forested hills of the Eastern Ghats range in R. Udayagiri Block of tribal-dominated Gajapati district are a happy lot.

Even as the sceptre of drought looms large over several regions of the State, they are able to irrigate their land on the hill slopes by using water from the perennial streams originating from the hill adjacent to their hamlet.

For decades together, the 37 tribal families of Sinising used to grow maize and ragi totally dependent upon rainfall. But their lives have changed for the better since water from the perennial hill stream originating in the upper slopes has been brought to their land through the diversion-based irrigation system (DBIS).

Seventy-two-year-old Maheswar Pujari of Sinising has not only been able to grow different crops in his fields since the initiative was implemented in their village by voluntary organisation Institute of Social Action and Research Activities (ISARA) three years ago with support from Mennonite Central Committee, a development agency. Pujari has also added more cultivable area by levelling his land that was lying unused on the hill slopes. Apart from maize and ragi, he now grows paddy, groundnut, turmeric, sweet potato, brinjal, beans, cauliflower and many other vegetables.

All families of Sinising are now cultivating their own land throughout the year and also selling their excess produce in the local markets to meet their other expenses. The smile of their faces tell a story of success and achievement because they contributed the labour for the construction of the tank at the hill where water from the stream is collected and laying the pipelines that brings water to their village.

Similar is the contentment among the residents of Anagha, a hamlet with 40 tribal families located a few kilometres away. Water from the perennial stream in Bhaliabada hill is flowing into the fields surrounding their hamlet.

“The use of water from the hill stream has changed our lives,” says Dandapani Raita of Anagha. He along with many fellow villagers is engaged in cultivating a variety of crops.

Other villages in R. Udayagiri Block where similar structures have been put up and hundreds of acres are being irrigated with the water from the perennial streams are Abarsing, Patrabasa, Kharipada, Munigadiha and Dambadiha. Earlier, water from the perennial streams was going waste by flowing in other directions and sinking into the ground. That’s not all. Rabindranath Patra of ISARA and members of his team have already identified more villages in the area to replicate DBIS. But the same could be replicated in a big way if the State government takes note of the venture to ensure that the tribals take to multi-crop farming instead of migrating to far off places to work as daily wage labourers.

$(function() { $('#articleKeywords a').click( function() { var keyword = $(this).text(); if (keyword.indexOf(' ') != -1) $('input#searchString').attr("value", '"' + keyword + '"'); else $('input#searchString').attr("value", keyword); $('#simpleSearchForm').submit(); return false; }); });