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Canal breach sinks fields

A farmer uses tree branches to plug a breached portion of the canal at Dharampur. Picture by Kishore Talukdar

Borjhar, Aug. 19: Paddy fields of over 300 farmers in Kamrup district have been inundated following breaches in a canal built under the Kopili irrigation scheme.

The farmers belonging to villages like Dharampur, Bongara (Pachaniapara), Nargaon, Mekurikuchi, Taraboti and Kaharpara have been the worst hit by the breaches in several places in the main canal on the right bank of the Kopili. Water overflowing through the broken portions has destroyed sali paddy saplings.

The canal built under the Kopili Flow Irrigation Scheme at Rani was converted from an earthen foundation to concrete under a Nabard-funded project in 2006-07.

A section of farmers, however, alleged that the authorities had compromised with quality and the canal was not properly constructed.

Dwijen Chandra Das, a farmer from Dharampur, alleged that ineffective execution of the scheme has taken a toll on their paddy fields. “What is the use of an irrigation canal if it fails to serve the farmers?” he asked.

Dhaneshwar Das, another farmer, who had cultivated paddy on 30 bighas beside the canal, said, “Crops across three bighas have been damaged by water gushing through the breached portions. We left no stone unturned to plug the breached portions to protect our paddy saplings but to no avail.”

The canal is among the three constructed under the irrigation scheme meant to cover 2,400 hectares of agricultural land. While the right bank main canal is 6,108metres long, the length of the left bank main canal is 7,620metres. The length of the left bank branch canal is 4,300metres.

Sources in the Guwahati west irrigation division said some miscreants had damaged the canal by pulling out iron rods. “Removal of the rods from the canal has caused the breaches at several portions,” a source said.

Water under the scheme is used to irrigate 1,331 hectares of land in the Rani area.

S.J. Das, executive engineer of the Guwahati west irrigation division, said the canal would be repaired soon. “We will also monitor the left bank main canal and try to improve its flow,” he said.

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