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Agriculture: Bokaro taps solar route to rid drought eclipsed farmlands

Ranchi: Several drought prone regions in Jharkhand are steadily turning towards solar energy based lift irrigation systems to tide over agricultural problems posed due to weather vagaries at a time climate change has become a global cause of concern.

Bokaro, state’s industrial belt, is a new entrant to the list of districts which have started setting up renewable energy powered irrigation networks. Several farmers in rebel infested Latehar and Simdega districts had already installed such facilities in recent months on vast acres of land and have started reaping benefits.

Detailing on their plans, an official of the Bokaro district administration said that around 500 acres of land are being brought under the solar lift irrigation facility, which will benefit approximately 480 farming households in the district.

“As per the plan, a total of 48 units of solar based pumps are being set up. Each pump unit has a capacity of 5HP with a 5KW solar panel installed at a pump house which covers 300 meters of an irrigation channel with the coverage of 10-12 acres of land,” said an official. “After all 48 units become functional it will benefit 500 acres of land while helping more than 300 farming families. To ensure the safety of the pump house, each pump unit has been insured against natural hazards and thievery,” he added.

Bokaro’s deputy commissioner Kuldeep Chowdhary said, “Bokaro is a mineral-rich and one of the most industrialized districts of Jharkhand. But, a substantial part of the population is dependent on agriculture and due to the unavailability of modern irrigation facilities, farmers can yield only one crop a year. We are aiming to promote multi-crop farming in the district.”

He added that out of the initial target of 48 solar pump units in the district, more than 20 are functional and work for the rest are underway. “The pumps are being set up based on ground evaluation of rain deficit at block levels or are perennially drought prone,” he underlined. 

The district administration is also working on the implementation of solar based mobile irrigation units to help marginal farmers who work in small clusters or hilly terrain. “We are also working on the utilisation of abandoned mines for irrigation purposes through district ministerial foundation trust (DMFT),” he revealed.

An official of the state agriculture department on the other hand said that more than 600 solar lift irrigation units have already been set up Latehar and Simdega districts so far. “Collectively, it is turning into boon for over 5000 farmers families,” he said.