Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Solar Irrigation System Brings Cheer to Kalahandi Farmers

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 9, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA: Budu Sabar, Labanya Sabar and Hiranya Sethi of Santpur village of Narla block in Kalahandi district are reaping benefits of irrigation through solar powered water pumping system.
They are among a group of select farmers of five clusters in Santpur (two clusters), Sanchiching of  Narla block, Dangriguda of Bhawanipatna block and Nuagaon village of Golamunda block in Kalahandi district, where a pilot project to irrigate farm land through solar power was launched on a pilot basis for the first time in Odisha about two months ago.
In the initial stage, three deep bore wells were installed with solar panels in each cluster.
One deep bore well irrigates five acres with solar panels fitted to it operating a motor pump of two horse power.
The project, funded by Bring Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), is cost effective and the experiment is proving to be a success, said Agriculture Engineer, Kalahandi, Lalit Mohan Jena.
He said for the project, 15 marginal farmers having ceiling surplus land from Government were identified.
As the farmers needed a reliable, low-cost water pumping system to grow crops, the solar powered system of irrigation was considered cost-effective. It is much cheaper than electricity based irrigation, Jena added.
While each bore well costs Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000, the cost of installing solar panels with pump is around Rs 2.9 lakh without much maintenance related expenses, he added. The solar panels come with a five year warranty and have a life span of 20 years. On the other hand, an electricity-based irrigation system would cost around Rs seven lakh for each cluster besides regular maintenance and involves risk factors, said the Agriculture Engineer.
One of the beneficiaries, Budu Sabar said, “After growing vegetables on small patches of our own land, we are now gearing up to cover more area.”
Last year, they had grown high land paddy and cotton through the normal irrigation system but the yield was not adequate. This time, they plan to grow vegetables and cash crops which have market demand.
Once it turns out to be a success in the five pilot areas, the project is proposed to be replicated in 10 more clusters of the district.

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