Nawada, Bihar: As the Kharif season unfolds amidst erratic rainfall patterns, the importance of functioning tubewells for farmers becomes increasingly evident. However, Nawada district faces a concerning situation with a substantial number of tubewells being inoperable. The process of repairing these defective tubewells proves to be a daunting challenge.
Reports indicate that 64 out of a total of 197 tubewells in the district are performing poorly, while a significant 38 have been rendered useless and nearly non-functional. Among the remaining 159 tubewells, 95 are currently operational. Efforts are underway to restore the functionality of the non-operational tubewells, with the Minor Irrigation Department initiating preparations well ahead of the Kharif season. Regrettably, despite the passage of three months, repairs have not been completed. Issues range from minor problems to more significant technical challenges, and some tubewells have been dormant for several years.
The closure of these tubewells poses a major predicament for local farmers, particularly during periods of insufficient rainfall when crop irrigation becomes critical. While Kharif crops can benefit from timely rains, Rabi crops heavily rely on underground water sources.
Despite the presence of seven rainy rivers and canals, irrigation prospects in the district remain limited. Consequently, the productivity of Kharif crops is severely impacted due to the non-functionality of a significant portion of tubewells.
Between 1954 and 1970, a total of 134 tubewells were established in various phases throughout the district. Differing features are attributed to the staggered installation of these tubewells. Earlier installations include VT motors, whereas later ones feature submersible motors. This discrepancy has led to the declaration of 38 state-owned tubewells as defunct, further hampering maintenance efforts for other operational tubewells.
Out of the 134 state-owned tubewells, a mere two dozen remain functional, leaving the majority dormant. Furthermore, technical issues contribute to the shutdown of the operational tubewells. In addition to the state-owned installations, NABARD has installed 59 tubewells in the district across three phases. Among the installations in the third phase, only one out of seven tubewells remains functional. Similarly, five out of sixteen installed under Phase 8, and seventeen out of thirty-seven installed in Phase 11 continue to operate.
The involvement of village committees in managing NABARD-installed tubewells has led to comparatively better maintenance, providing some relief to local farmers who rely on these water sources for their agricultural needs.