Solar Community LIFT IRRIGATION in Chhatisgarh

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This success story article highlights the solar community lift irrigation schemes being implemented in the Jashpur district of Chhatisgarh. This project has proved to be a boon for the poor farmers since it has enhanced their productivity at a minimum cost and is serving as a cleaner and greener option of irrigation.

Eighty per cent population of the state of Chhattisgarh is rural and the main livelihood of the villagers is agriculture and agriculture-based small industries. The economy of the state is mainly based on agriculture and forestry. The agriculture sector contributes around 38 per cent to the state’s net domestic product. In Chhattisgarh, agriculture is mainly done in rainfed conditions and variation in the yearly rainfall directly affects crops. Obviously, irrigation is the prime need of the state for its overall development and, therefore, the State government has given top priority to development of irrigation potential.

Picture 1: Community lift irrigation systems installed at Village Choraidand and Khatanga, district Jashpur, Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh state consists of 27 districts; Jashpur is one of the backward districts of the state. It is situated in the north-eastern part of the state. The area of the district is 6,088 sq. km. It is rich in forest resources and the majority of its population belongs to the scheduled tribes (STs). Land is mainly of two types, Balua soil in hilly region, which is not fertile where mixed type of crop is grown, land in plain area is fertile. The main perennial rivers of the district are Lawa, Ib, Maini, and Shankh. Climate of the district is very peculiar with upper areas much colder while lower region is warm. The climate here is moist as heavy rainfall occurs here. The average rainfall of the district is 1,512.8 mm. The total irrigated area in Jashpur is 291,497 ha out of which 17,812 ha is net cropped area. As per the official data, there are 41 minor irrigation systems developed. There are many tiny and small stop dams proposed under various scheme which will bring more area under agriculture.

The Issues Faced By Jashpur District

Ever since the emergence of Jashpur as a district, it was evident that it has great potential to deliver true sense of high economic value to the state and the country. To keep up to expectation, it was necessary to fill the critical gaps in the area of infrastructure development, livelihood promotion, and other related activities. So, special scheme was required to meet the challenges ahead of tribal district Jashpur.

Considering all the above mentioned facts, the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) has formulated and completed two solar community minor lift irrigation schemes in villages Harradipa and Baghmudi of block Duldula of Jashpur district. In these villages, a large number of farmers did not have any means of electricity for irrigation. Approximately 130 acre land was continuously not irrigated in other seasons except rainy season because of lack of electricity. They had only one bore-well near their agricultural lands in villages. But because of unavailability of electricity, the available bores were also not in use. Because of the unavailability of continuous electricity farmers have no choice except to take only one crop that too in rainy season. For irrigation they were dependent on diesel pumps for which they had to make lot of efforts to buy and bring diesel from distant places.

Picture 2: Solar community lift irrigation system in operation

Solar Community Lift Irrigation Schemes

Under these lift irrigation schemes, two solar surface pumps one in each village were installed at common water source, i.e., stop dams on perennial rivers. Committees of Farmers were formed for daily operation and maintenance of the pumps, which also controls scheduling and distribution of water among farmers. Farmers also contributed land for installation of solar pumps and construction of overhead tanks of 5 kl in each village.

The outcome of these projects, so far, is as follows:

  • A total of about 30 acres of farm land is being irrigated under this project.
  • A total of about 2 lakh litres of water is provided for irrigation per day in each village.
  • About 12 families were benefitted with this project, which are now growing crops, such as mustard, paddy, maize, potato, and other vegetables, etc.
  • The economy of these farmers is increased substantially as they do not have to pay for diesel for irrigation after installation of the solar pumps.
  • Training was given to farmers to handle troubleshooting related to pump sets.The basic outlay of providing water supply to the farms is done by constructing a RCC tank, nearby to the solar pump which serves a total of 108 acres of farm land annually. A total of 16 panels (300 W) were installed, which is sufficient to run a 5 HP solar pumpset.

Benefits and Impact of the Project

The impact of these kinds of projects on the villagers is immense. Earlier mono-cropping was the usual practice but with the advent of this community-based lift irrigation project, the farmers have started cultivating more crops annually. This project has proved to be a boon for the poor farmers since it has enhanced their productivity at a minimum cost and is serving as a cleaner and greener option of irrigation. Subsistence farming was a past and forgotten word for the farmers. This has really helped them to improve their standard of living.

Source: Akshay Urja, MNRE

Categories: Solar