In Mahua Sagarua village and Gram Panchayat under Mainatand block of Paschim Champaran district, a channel irrigation system, traditionally known as Pyne was being under-utilised because of lack of maintenance of the conveyance channels that resulted in accumulation of silt over the years. This affected the villagers residing at the tail-end of the irrigation channel who were not getting water for irrigation. The irrigation channel also played a critical role in checking floods and conveying flood water during peak monsoons. Under MGNREGA, pyne de-siltation work was taken up in the Gram Sabha and was already in progress when the Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Growth (ICRG) programme funded by DFID recommended design changes to make it climate resilient.
During the scoping it emerged that the bed slope of the Kohai river and the side and bed slopes of the connected pyne were not properly maintained for this side. Hence, the pyne accumulated silt and was unable to maintain its natural water flow. The ICRG recommendations focused on renovation of pyne sides and bed (deepening and widening), constructing a barrier wall in the river where pyne banks were estimated to get damaged due to high velocity of river water during peak rainy season and to undertake plantation activities near the river and on pyne bunds to protect it from erosion and for diversified livelihood for the community. The total cost of the structure is estimated at Rs. 3.95 lakhs and will benefit 100 households.
The design modification suggested will positively impact water holding capacity of the pyne that will directly benefit 100 households and a total of 53 farmers. All the civil work will be done through MGNREGA. Through convergence with the Horticulture and Agriculture Departments, 21 farmers have been identified for vegetable cultivation, 15 farmers for agro-horticulture and 19 for seed replacement. Good quality saplings and improved seed varieties will contribute to livelihood security of the households.
The widening and deepening of the channel bed and sides will increase availability of irrigation water by 3000 cubic meter. By maintaining proper bed and side slopes of the channel, soil erosion and consequent siltation will be checked while also reducing damage that ensues from surface runoff. This will make the structure sturdier and increase its longevity, reduce de-siltation need to once every 3-4 years.
Additional irrigation water by 3000 cubic meter will allow farmers residing at the tail end of the irrigation channel to take up agriculture. The construction of the barrier wall will help protect the pyne banks from the high velocity of excess water flow during peak rainy season. It will also avoid flooding and submergence of crops during times of intense rainfall through efficient disposal of rain water.
Availability of water in the irrigation channel till end of March will encourage farmers to opt for other diversified livelihood options like horticulture, vegetable cultivation etc. Plantation on bunds and nearby area will increase the biodiversity of the adjacent area and create diversified livelihood opportunities for the families.