What do you know about the Ganga-Kopotakkho irrigation project?

It is directly involved with agriculture. It is a supplementary irrigation or functions as a complete source of irrigation for the farmers during the production period. However, they have some problems.

What are the problems?

Farmers complain that they do not get water at the right time. They get it during the monsoon. This problem should be addressed. These issues are raised in the district level meetings.

One of the three pumps was closed for four years. How did it affect the farmers?

I have already said that they have some problems. There has been some loss in crop production due to lack of water. To address this, farmers themselves set up deep tube wells for irrigation. However, after the restart of the pump if water becomes available in the canals all the time, it will reduce the farmers' sufferings.

Is the water from the G-K project used only for irrigation purposes?

You have pointed out a good point. When there is water in the canal, the orchards in the vicinity get a necessary amount of water resulting in good production. In recent times, malta is being cultivated in Kushtia and surrounding areas. The production of malta will increase further if there is water available in the canal.

What will be the other impacts in this region as pumps have been started?

The available water in the canal has an overall impact in this region. Regular water flow keeps the balance of biodiversity. It also ensures proper water flow in the tube-wells as well as the ponds which boost the fish production. Most importantly, water in canals reduces high temperature. It’s true that operation of this pump will create a favourable environment for the better production of crops by the farmers.

*This interview appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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