Saturday, 20 June 2015


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. 

Farmers'Club Meeting
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 SuchindraNew 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.

Today, 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. 

Contributed by: Team JUST, Agartala
Edited by: Jonas Lakra, Caritas India

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