RAJBIRAJ, Sept 6: Local farmers on Thursday padlocked the Koshi Pump Chandra Nahar Irrigation Management Division Office in Rajbiraj demanding water for their paddy fields.
Hundreds of farmers, who thronged Rajbiraj from different VDCs of Saptari district on Thursday, also staged demonstrations for hours before padlocking the irrigation office.
The farmers said they had to padlock the irrigation office as it did not release water for their paddy fields for over two months. "Our paddy fields are drying up because the irrigation office has not released adequate water for the past two months," said Jaya Narayan Yadav, a farmer from Simraha Sigiyoun VDC of Saptari district.
According to Baidyanath Yadav, who came to Rajbiraj from Malekpur VDC of Saptari district to join the farmers´ protest, over 2,000 hectares of paddy fields have dried up due to the lack of water. "I myself had planted paddy in three bighas of land as my field was close by Chandra Nahar," said Yadav, adding, "But, since the irrigation office did not release water, my investment, time and hard-work have gone down the drain."
Shree Lal Yadav, a farmer from Simraha VDC of Saptari district, says, "We needed more water from Chandra Nahar this year because of very weak monsoon. But, the irrigation office did not release water." Yadav said they padlocked the irrigation office as it was of no use to them.
The irrigation office has not released water for paddy farming in Dhanuki, Simraha Sigiyoun, Andipatti, Musaharniya, Belha, Inarwa, Jamuwa and Pipra VDCs of Saptari district. Rajendra Sah, chief of the irrigation office, says that they were unable to release water for over half a dozen VDCs in Saptari district due to heavy power outage.
In principal, the irrigation office aims to provide water to irrigate 13,180 hectares of land in Saptari district alone. However, barely 4,000 hectares of land have now access to irrigation facilities from Chandra Nahar. Sah says the whole Chandra Nahar irrigation system, which was built 80 years ago, needs to be repaired immediately.
"Without repairing all canals and equipment, we can´t use the system to its full capacity," he said.