Wheat crop affected in central Tarai as Indian side fails to release water for irrigation

Gandak irrigation canal

Birendra Karna
Wheat crop cultivated on 76 thousand 500 hectares of land in the central Tarai districts – Parsa, Bara and Rautahat- has been affected as the Indian side has not released water in the Gandak irrigation canal.

Framers have been growing wheat on 39 thousand hectares in Parsa, 29 thousand hectares in Bara and 15 thousand 500 hectares in Rautahat.

This situation has arisen as the Indian side failed to repair the section of the Gandak irrigation canal structure on its side that was damaged by the flood and landslide triggered by incessant rains in the second week of August, 2017, said Rajendra Prasad Saha, Division Chief of the Narayani Irrigation Management Division Office, Bahuari.

Some 100 kilometers of the irrigation canal has been damaged by landslide and flood.

The water cannot be released in the canal until the damaged irrigation canal structure was repaired, he added.

The Indian side should have released the water in the canal within December 25 as per the Gandak Irrigation Canal agreement signed between Nepal and India.

The District Agricultural Development Offices of these districts say that between 25 to 30 per cent wheat crop will be affected in these districts this year due to the lack of irrigation water.

The Framers have started wheat cultivation with the help of small irrigation projects after not getting the irrigation water from the Gandak project. But the irrigation by small irrigation projects is not adequate.

The flood damaged the irrigation canal towards the Nepal side at some 36 places. The damage was equivalent to Rs 750 million. Nepal repaired the structure in time. But the Indian side has not yet repaired the canal on its side so far.

Eighty one kilometers of the canal lies on the Nepal side while the rest is located in India. This section of the irrigation canal which was constructed by India was handed over to Nepal around 1976.

As per the Gandak agreement, India should release 850 Cusecs water in the Gandak River on the Nepal side. However, the Indian side has not been able to provide this volume of water as per the agreement.