After waiting for 25 years for the government to build a dam in their village, a group of farmers in UP have finally taken the matter into their own hands and have started building the dam themselves. In Baheri district, the dam that had been built in the British era is in badly damaged condition. Farmers from over 25 villages in the area have been facing several problems related to irrigation since 1990. However, since there has been no response from the government even after several pleas, the villagers, tired of waiting, have decided to make things happen for themselves.
According to a report in Times of India, the farmers have collected a sum of Rs 70,000 and are constructing a kutcha dam with mud and sand bags, which will be 98 feet long and 20 feet wide when completed.
Picture for representation only. Source: By McKay Savage from London, UK, via Wikimedia Commons
When contacted by Times of India, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) of the region, S S Awasthi, said, “From the British period to 1990, the district administration used to construct a kutcha dam here every rabi season. This dam would get damaged every year during the monsoon and was remade just before winter. However, the dam construction was stopped after 1990 due to increased input cost. We had sent a proposal to the state government in 2014 for constructing a pucca dam here, but it is still pending.”
“The quality of crops deteriorated as we failed to provide adequate water. We made several requests to the administration and politicians but there was no response,” said Rampal Singh, a farmer from Tehra village.
Things changed when Jaideep Singh Barar, a former MLA and chief of Kisan Kalyan Samiti, persuaded the villagers to construct the dam on their own. The villagers contributed in every way they could.
“When we had met officials earlier, they had told us that we would not be able to make a dam here on our own. But we proved them wrong. After Tehra village, which is nearly 60 km from Bareilly, we will now construct a dam at Khamariya village,” said Barar.
Another farmer, Sukhbir Singh from Naogava village, said, “The dam will now benefit farmers of many villages. Though we have constructed the dam, we want the administration to ensure its safety.”
The CDO said that the district administration will again take up the matter; however, the farmers say they have little reason to expect immediate action.