Project takes off after 32yrs

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By SUBRAT DAS
  • Published 18.07.13
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Bhubaneswar, July 17: An inter-state multi-purpose project over the Subarnarekha river, which passes through Odisha, Jharkhand and Bengal, took 32 years to be commissioned.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated the Phase-I irrigation facility of the Subarnarekha multi-purpose project at Badachhatra.

The irrigation facility will be extended to 20,000 hectares of five blocks of Mayurbhanj district bordering Jharkhand and Bengal.

The project, estimated to be built for Rs 82 crore in 1981, has escalated to Rs 5,630 crore, official sources said.

A tripartite agreement was signed among Bihar (now Jharkhand), Odisha and Bengal on August 7, 1978.

However, a state government official said the project had got delayed due to lack of interest by the then Bihar government and paucity of funds.

“The project by the co-basin states was taken up from their own resources. Funds constraint as well as uncertainty in completion of joint works by the then Bihar government retarded the project’s progress,” said state’s water resources secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.

The project in Bihar started in 1982. But due to funds crunch, the Bihar government did not take any interest. The work was resumed only after creation of Jharkhand as a separate state and it got expedited from 2003-04, said Mohapatra.

The project in Odisha was taken up in 1987 from the state’s own resources. In 1995-96, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development sanctioned funds for a dam at Jambhira and portion of the canal system.

Subsequently, it was included as a central government-sponsored scheme in 1996-97. The project is getting 81 per cent central assistance. So far, it has received central assistance to the tune of Rs 1,310.05 crore.

So far, Rs 2,490.57 crore has been spent on the project and most of the structural works are over.

“Now, construction of the distributaries are left and it is expected to be over by 2017,” said a senior official of the water resources department.

From Jharkhand side, construction of the Galudih barrage and 56km-long right bank canal and the Chandli dam (for irrigation in Jharkhand and storage of flood water for Odisha and Bengal) are over. For construction of the Ichha dam across the Kharkhai river to store water for Odisha and Jharkhand, land acquisition process is on.

In Odisha, construction of the 56km-long Subarnarekha main canal with an irrigation potential of 6,938 hectares is in the advanced stage of completion. The Jambhira dam will be completed by next year.

In the initial phase, the canal will provide irrigation facilities to about 20,000 hectares benefiting about more than 15,000 farmers of five blocks in Odisha.

Once completed, the multi-purpose project will extend irrigation facility to more than one lakh hectares, enabling farmers to undertake multiple crops instead of paddy crop.

This project will also mitigate flood furry of the Subarnarekha river.