The state government has set the ball rolling for the execution of the second phase of the East Gandak Canal System, which entails irrigation of 1.22 lakh hectares of farmland in Muzaffarpur, Vaishali and Samastipur.
Rajendra Prasad, who held the post of Union agriculture minister before entering Rashtrapati Bhavan as the first President of India, had conceptualised the project for his home state. Started in 1969, the work on the project was stopped in 1985. But the present state government decided to take this project to its logical end and made it a part of the “agriculture roadmap”, released by President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to the state.
“Right now, the survey work for land requirement is conducted. Tenders for selecting the agency for execution of the project would be floated by the end of this year,” water resources department minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary told reporters here on Thursday.
A sum of Rs 1,799 crore would be spent on the project to be implemented under the Accelerated Irrigation Development Project, for which the Centre provides financial assistance to states.
The partially completed eastern Gandak canal project provides irrigation facility to just 45,000 hectares of land at present.
Chaudhary said 13.83 lakh hectares of farmland were provided irrigation facilities using the existing canal system during the kharif season this year. It is the highest so far in the state, he said.
The minister also heaped praise on his department officials for not allowing a single major breach along the river embankments this year.