Monday, September 25, 2023

Power crisis affects boro irrigation

Many buying diesel pumps to cope with situation
Farmers in different parts of the country are facing acute irrigation problems in the current boro season due to severe power outages and the low level of groundwater.
Farmers say they have to endure power cuts of between six to eighteen hours a day and, in some areas they cannot extract as much water as they need.
As a result, to cope with the situation, many farmers have bought diesel run pumps to extract water, they said,
‘Power comes and goes at least 10 times a day and affects irrigation in our boro fields badly,’ said Asad Miah, a farmer of Nikrail of Bhuapur in Tangail district.
He said he bought a diesel pump to manage the situation.
Farmer Sanwar Hossain of village Beguntal under Tangail Sadar Upazila in the same district said, apart from electricity difficulties, groundwater level has also fallen so the pumps can only extract half the water it could, compared to one month back.
‘We have to experience up to 18 hours’ power outage everyday and our irrigation is affected badly,’ said Md Sefat Ali of village Hajipara under Kalai Upazila in Joypurhat district, expressing his fear that if the situation continues, they will have to endure huge loss.
The department of agriculture extension in Dhaka has set a target to cultivate 48.50 lakh hectares of land for boro production this year and a total of 16,08,661 pumps, including 32,912 deep pumps, 1,425,136 shallow ones and 150,613 low lifting pumps, are being used for irrigation.
Sources at Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation in Dhaka said they had used around 15.52 lakh pumps for irrigation.
According to power development board sources, electricity demand in the country is around 5,100 megawatt while the supply is around 3,800 mw.
The experts, however, said the actual demand of electricity in the country is currently closer to 6,000 megawatts.
Our correspondent in Tangail reports that severe load shedding is interrupting irrigation in the ongoing boro season in the district.
Farmer Abul Hossain of Khorilla village under Gopalpur Upazila in the district said they got only around four hours’ power at night to run their pumps which is insufficient for their irrigation.
Tangail Polli Bydhut Samity assistant general manager, Md Raikb Uddin, told New Age that it needs 55 megawatt of electricity to cope with the demand, but they are now getting 20 to 21 megawatts of supply.
He said that 10,400 pumps are functioning in his area and confessed that boro cultivation in the district was not going on smoothly.
Our Correspondent in Nilphamari reports that the irrigation dependent Boro cultivation is also being affected by the acute electricity crisis in the district.
District PDB control room said they can supply 3 to 4 mw of electricity everyday against a demand of 13 mw.
The district DAE sources informed that they had a target of cultivating Boro paddy on 79,889 hectares of land but the target has been exceeded and has reached to 80,980 hectares.
Our Correspondent in Kurigram reports similar problems in the district.
Consumers of all the 22 feeders under Kurigram-Lalmonirhat Palli Biddut Samity have to endure up to 18 hours’ load shedding and farmers are not getting adequate water for their land, said farmers.
Farmer Babul and Rabiul of village Madhaikhal under Nageswari Upazila in the district told New Age that they only get electricity for irrigation for four hours to cultivate the 45 bighas of land that they manage together.
Kurigram-Lalmonirhat Palli Biddut Samity general manager Md Monjurur Rashid however claimed that load shedding in his area was not more than 14 hours a day.
BADC chief engineer (minor irrigation) Abul Kazem Mia, told New Age that boro irrigation is being affected slightly due to shortage in electricity supply and fall in groundwater level, but it was not affecting things significantly.
He said that the use of diesel-run pumps was making the situation tolerable.

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