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Farmers stall water project - Call for irrigation facilities

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  • Published 14.01.11

Dumka, Jan. 13: At a time food prices are shooting up, farmers of Baskichak village and its adjoining areas have hit the protest path to save their perishing vegetables.

Angry that deputy chief minister Hemant Soren was yet to keep his promise of ensuring electricity supply to the villages for irrigation, the farmers have halted construction of a reservoir on Mayurakshi river under an ambitious urban water supply project at Baskichak village, about 10km from the district headquarters. They claimed that the district administration ought to first address their needs before catering to the requirement of the urban masses.

Baskichak and its surrounding areas under Kesiabahal panchayat cater to the one-fourth vegetable demand of Dumka, but absence of irrigation facilities has dealt a huge blow to production this year. About 50 wells in the village, the only water source for irrigation, have almost dried up because of weak monsoons over the past couple of years.

“How can we allow this project meant for urban people, residing about 10km to 12km away, when we ourselves are being deprived of water, despite staying near the reservoir?” argued the mukhiya of Kesiabahal panchayat.

“We are not demanding jobs or any other support from the government, but mere irrigation facilities so that we can eke out a living,” added another farmer, Hubu Lal Mahto.

During an inspection of the water supply project last October, Hemant, also the local MLA, had promised to do the needful for providing power supply to the villages so that farmers could pump water from Mayurakshi to their fields. In fact, Soren senior had made a similar promise during the Assembly polls.

“But no effort was taken by the father-son duo to translate the promises into reality,” said a villager.