Baranai river rubber dam becomes blessings for Rajshahi farmers
Rubber dam the Baranai River has become a blessing for farmers as they are being benefited enormously by availing irrigation water from the embankment in the region for the last couple of years.
The dam also eased the living and livelihood conditions of hundreds of thousands of people residing on both sides of the Baranai River, reports BSS.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) installed the dam in Baranai River at Jagadishpur of Puthiya Upazila in the district around two years back, opening up fortunes of scores of people.
At present, they are cultivating around 15 types of crops and vegetables, including potato, brinjal, onion and mustard, on around 5,000 hectares of char (river bed) lands in Manda, Bagmara, Naldanga and Puthiya upazilas availing irrigation water accumulated by the rubber dam.
Yeasin Ali, a farmer of Kachari Koaliapara, said the farmers had to suffer a lot before installing the rubber dam as the river remained dry almost round the year just after ending the monsoon. But the odd situation has gone at present.
Job opportunities for thousands of people were also created centering the embankment. Thousands of farmers and fisherman are getting benefit from the dam, he said.
Rezaul Karim, Assistant Engineer of BMDA, said they built a 62-metre rubber dam at the cost of Taka 14.30 crore on the bank of the Baranai River, which is flowing through Bagmara and Naldanga Upazilas.
Another part of the river passes through Manda, Mohanganj, Naohata and Shilmaria Union of Puthia Upazila.
Due to the dam, the river is filled with water throughout the year that brought the lands adjacent to the river under irrigation facilities, karim said.
The farmers are now cultivating crops three times by using this water for irrigation, he added.
On the other hand, many domestic species of fish are found in the river. A few hundred people in the area are maintaining their livelihood by catching these fish.
Karim said water also remains in about 15 beels (water bodies), including Beel Kumari, Khaira Beel and Mora Beel round the year. The farmers are now getting water from the beels for cultivation.
Earlier, during the dry season, the river remained waterless. With the establishment of the dam, the level of underground water has increased. As a result, water is available in the tube-wells of the area during the dry season.
Engineer Karim said the dam project not only changed the farmers' fate, but also maintained the balance of environment.
Terming the rubber dam project as an epoch-making step of the government, Upazila Agriculture Officer Razibur Rahman said emphasis should be given on expanding the scheme to boost production through bringing more other uncultivated lands under irrigation.
Jahangir Alam Khan, Coordinator of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Project, said promotion of surface water irrigation instead of depending only on the groundwater-based ones is very important for the region to mitigate water scarcity.
BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid said restriction has been imposed on furthermore installation of deep-tube-well in the drought-prone areas to discourage the extraction of underground water.
The BMDA will take the lead to increase surface water use through promoting rainwater accumulating technologies in the days to come, he added.
He said around 1,080 kilometers underground irrigation pipelines were constructed aimed at reducing the loss of irrigation water by around 40 percent in the Barind area.
"We've a plan of elevating the surface water-based irrigation to 30 percent from the existing 10 percent by 2030 to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on underground water," he said.