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Irrigation crisis hits Boro farming in Rangpur

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A Correspondent
Rangpur: Irrigation on 60,500 hectares of Boro land under the Teesta Barrage project area is facing setback in the current season due to abnormal fall of water flow in the Teesta following unrestrained withdrawal of water at the upstream of the river in India.
Sources at the Bangladesh Water Development Board (WDB) said the flow of water was recorded 600 cusec at the Barrage point while it was supposed to remain 5,000 cusec during the dry season.
Failing to get irrigation water, Boro growers staged agitation last week as they are fully dependent on the Barrage water for cultivation of Boro paddy in the dry season.
Witnesses said the agitating growers blocked the Rangpur-Dalia Road last week and vandalized 10 to 12 vehicles on the road, causing severe traffic jam in the area.
They also announced from a rally to lay siege to the Water Development Board office.
Meanwhile, the leaders and activists of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) on Saturday (March 22) staged demonstration in the Rangpur city protesting the government’s failure to ensure due share of Teesta water from India.
The Indian authorities built a barrage on the upstream of Teesta River at Gozaldoba, some 64 kilometers off the Teesta Barrage project in Kochbihar district of Paschimbanga (West Bengal), to divert water flow of the river.
The Indian side keeps all the gates of the Gozaldoba barrage closed throughout the entire dry season every year, resulting in drastic decline of water flow in the downstream in Bangladesh.
Jabbar Mia, a grower of Khalea Gongipur in Gangachara upazila, said Boro seeds are being damaged for want of water as the feeder canal has dried up.
Mahbubur Rahman, executive engineer of the Teesta irrigation project, said they are now rationing irrigation water so that all the growers get water for cultivation.
He, however, declined to make any comment when asked how they would manage with only 600 cusec of water when at least 3500 cusec would be required for irrigation.
The 615-meter Teesta Barrage Project was built at Dowani in Hatibandha Upazila of Lalmonirhat district to bring 5.95 lakh hectares under irrigation facilities by turn in 24 Upazilas of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Joypurhat and Bogra districts. The first phase work of the project was completed in 2003.

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