This blog is dedicated to the People Led Development (PLD) approach in development sector. The blog reflects PLD stories and experiences from the fields of North East (NE) India, a repository of several ethnic groups with unique tradition and culture.
PLD is the integral component of a project titled Facilitating Agriculture Regeneration (FARM) in North East India. FARM is being implemented by partners in 7 states of NE India except Sikkim and supported by Caritas India.
Saturday, 20 June 2015
COMMUNITY INITIATIVE REVIVES IRRIGATION SYSTEM IN THE VILLAGE
Subalgarh (Khampar) farmers in West Tripura District of Tripura were
facing difficulties in cultivating their crops due to scarcity of water in the
area. The fields being on a higher elevation & water flowing down, it was
difficult to pump the water to fields for irrigation. On rare occasions one
could see farmers pumping water from the source as it was a costly affair.
Carrying water from the stream also cost farmers dearer as they had to pay for
the labour. Pumping water or carrying it from the source was only possible
during the rainy season; it was however, impossible during lean season. Government
of Tripura had provided irrigation facility with water pump house in the
village, but once the pumps went out of order, they were lying so since many
years. Two water pump machines were out of order and even the pipes were
broken. “The government appointed person
in charge of the pump house is drawing salary for doing nothing” said Mr.
Budhorai Debbarma, adding further that they tried endless ways to find a solution to the problem but failed miserably.
A farmers’ club (FC) was formed under FARM NE during
2013-14 by the name Yaphang FC in Subalgarh village. Jana Unnayan Smaiti
Tripura (JUST) did all that was required for the FC viz; awareness & facilitation
etc. This helped the farmers to explore & understand their own capabilities
& also the courage to take advantage of such opportunities.
It was now for the farmers to take up these burning
issues facing them. JUST ensured all support to the farmers and tried to mobilize
them. The Subalgarh village farmers were looking confident as a result & it
looked like they would be able to handle the issues well.
On 19th January 2014 our FC sat for a meeting to discuss the
issue and find out a permanent solution to our problems said Suchindra
Debbarma, secretary of Yaphang FC. The meeting was attended by all the
office bearers & members of the FC & it was resolved that they would
approach the Village Chairman to take up the matter. The very next day the FC
members went to the Chairman & apprised him of the problems faced with a
written petition. The farmers expressed their desire to construct a temporary
reservoir by creating a bund on the stream, so that water collected can be
pumped out to the fields. Secondly, they also appealed for repairing of water pump
shed that went out of order. Another grievance letter to this regard was
submitted to the Department of Irrigation, Government of Tripura during the
month of February 2014. JUST was instrumental in facilitating the whole process
for the farmers.
Water Reservoir Constructed by Farmers' Club
Results started showing when the Department of
Irrigation responded soon and provided new water pump machine with additional
pipes. “Our prayers were heard by the Department
of Irrigation and they provided new water pump machine with additional pipes. The
Department also asked us to monitor the function of the irrigation system" said Suchindra. New water pump and pipes installed in October 2014.
Meanwhile, the farmers took advantage of the existing
15 days’ MGNREGA work that was being implemented in the village. They wanted to
utilize two MGNREGA days for construction of the temporary reservoir. The
Chairman wasted no time in responding the request of the farmers. “We were really happy to see that the
Chairman immediately approved our request and granted two days’ work under the
MGNREGA scheme" said Mr. Budhorai Debbarma, present of Yaphang FC. The community wasted no time and took up the
work of building reservoir and completed on 19th Oct. 2014. It just
took two days for 90 people to construct the temporary dam.
one can see the farmers irrigating their fields with the help of the water
trapped in the temporary reservoir. "We did
it"! Suchindra said with smiling face. Mr. Jonas Lakra, Zonal Manager,
Caritas India visited the site during March 2015 and witnessed the case while
appreciating the efforts of the FC.