‘Pani Panchayat’ fortnight from 16th January 

‘Pani Panchayat’ fortnight from 16th January 

Bhubaneswar: In the first phase of executing the Pani Panchayat Fortnight, 2024, scheduled between January 16th and 30th, 2024, the Department of Water Resources, Odisha, is organizing Irrigation Division (Major, Medium, MI & LI) level functions across 117 divisions in the state on January 16th. District level functions are set for January 24th, followed by state-level events on January 30th, 2024.

The Pani Panchayat Pakhya offers a platform to recognize the significant contributions made by Pani Panchayats and farmers in the water sector. During the inauguration on January 16th, Raths will be flagged off by the Hon’ble Minister(s), local MPs/MLAs, local PRI/ULB representatives, and eminent personalities.

Numerous activities, including debates, essays, paintings, quizzes, and model exhibitions among schoolchildren, as well as Pani Panchayat Samabesha and Information Education Communication/Social Behavioural Change Communication (IEC/SBCC) activities through exhibitions and Raths, are planned. Banners, brochures, logos, slogans, taglines, anthems, oaths, etc., have been designed to generate interest and engagement.

The Pani Panchayat movement in Odisha has evolved from around 700 Water Users’ Associations in 1995–2002 to more than 39,289 Pani Panchayats today. Amendments to the Odisha Pani Panchayat Act, 2002, have made it more inclusive, incorporating the formation of Pani Panchayats under Mega Lift Irrigation Projects and increasing women’s representation by including spouses of landholders.

The introduction of e-CAD, a web and mobile app-based application for real-time monitoring of Pani Panchayats and infrastructure, has streamlined transactions. Initiatives like the Odisha Integrated Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture (OIIPCRA) aim to enhance crop productivity, promote resilient agricultural practices, diversify crops, and adapt to climate change.

Recent major water infrastructure projects, such as the Upper Indravati Lift Canal, Lower Indra, Deo, Telengiri, Subarnarekha (including Haldia), Rukura, and Ret, have been dedicated to the state, providing irrigation to 3.64 lakh acres (1.47 lakh ha) and boosting agricultural production and productivity for farmers. The state has allocated nearly Rs 600 crore from its funds for command area development from FY 2021–22 to FY 2023–24.