Construction of Irrigation Canals gets impacted due to the second lockdown

The Engineer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Khandu Tshering, said the construction of irrigation canals in the country got delayed due to the second lockdown.

He said that the Ministry has been carrying out the plan programs but they could not carry out the survey due to the lockdown.

“The formation of Water User Association under Green Climate Fund also got delayed which was supposed to complete by January and we are also not sure whether it will be done by February,” he said.

He added, “We thought of training the farmers by mid-December but we could not start due to the lockdown.”

 He said that the Ministry has identified Sarpang for the upcoming scheme and also they have been identifying few of the schemes for different dzongkhags.

“Already there are two ongoing schemes which is been taken up the desuups in Punakha and Tsirang. And Sarpang has been identified solely for irrigation whereas the two schemes have been focusing on alleviating drinking water shortage as well as providing water for irrigation,” he said.

He said that the country has 277,000 acres of cultivable land and of that around 208,000 acres is a cropped area, and so the country has around 65,000 acres’ fallow land after the Ministry did a survey in 2009.

“Over the years because of the climate change there are lot of irrigation water sources drying up and youth have been migrating into urban areas leading to the decrease in the number of able bodied people in the villages to maintain such water systems,” he said.

In the 11th plan, irrespective of the man power and limited funding the ministry by itself managed to complete 33 schemes, he said. He pointed out that as a result, over 16,000 acres has been assured irrigation water.  Close to 200 km of lines were built and over 5,000 house hold has been benefitted in 11th plan. 

In the 12th five-year plan, of the left over schemes of the 108 schemes, 36 has been included in the Green Climate Fund project.

 For overall irrigation activities, 15 mn USD been approved and with this budget they have to cover 36 schemes for 10,000 acres and close to 3,000 households will be benefited.

Meanwhile, two pilot projects were launched for De-suung National Service focusing on improving and expanding water supply. The first pilot project was started in Punakha while the second pilot project was started in Tsirang.

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