The government has decided to re-excavate 715 ponds and 10 dighis (large ponds) to facilitate irrigation at 45 upazilas of 5 northern districts through preserving rainwater. These ponds will facilitate irrigation to 3,858 hectares of farmland of Natore, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaona and Bogra districts, sources at the Ministry of Agriculture said.
According to the sources, 85 solar power-run low-lift pumps would be installed and 80 groundwater irrigation drains would be built under the project. A total of 85 pre-paid meters would be purchased for the project while 5 million trees would be planted along the ponds. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved the project which will cost Tk 128 crore 18 lakh and 75 thousand. The project will be entirely funded by the government under the 7th Five Year Plan, planning ministry sources said.
The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) will implement the project by 30 June 2023. Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said, "If the project is implemented, the availability of ground water in those area will also increase, which ultimately will boost the production of crops as well as fish farming in the area."
Electricity will be saved through the use of solar power for irrigation, and plantation along the pond will create opportunities for environmental development and employment of marginal farmers, the minister added.