Farmers and prisoners never had it so good in Bihar. Close on the heels of the launch of the state's agriculture roadmap (2012-17) by the President, the cabinet sanctioned Rs. 2169.51 crore for extension, renovation and modernization (ERM) of the west Gandak canal, Bihar (Saran main canal and its distributaries).
What is more, the cabinet also offered a bonanza to nearly 23000 prisoners lodged in various jails of Bihar by sanctioning a 10-fold raise in their daily wages, ahead of the festive season.
Principal secretary, planning and development, also holding additional charge of cabinet coordination department, Vijay Prakash, on Friday said, the west Gandak ERM project would be completed by 2016-17.
When complete, it would provide irrigation to additional 1.58 lakh hectare, besides helping restore its original irrigation capacity of 1.47 lakh hectare in Gopalganj, Chapra and Siwan districts, he added.
He said, in another decision pertaining to water, the cabinet approved a PHED proposal 'Mukhyamantri chapakal yojanas' to provide Rs. 225 crore in the current fiscal to sink 55240 hand pumps in 38 districts of the state on the recommendation of MLAs and MLCs.
Under the plan, MLAs could recommend sinking of hand pumps for the next five years with annual breakup of five for every panchayat, three for every urban body (ward), two for every Nagar parishad (ward) and one for every Nagar panchayat, Prakash informed.
MLCs could recommend sinking of 100 hand pumps each, over the next five years, he added.
The cabinet also sanctioned Rs. 242 crore for setting up 210 e-kisan bhawans in block headquarters to facilitate farmers' training and enhance their capability to use farm equipment aimed at bringing about qualitative change in food production and productivity, he stated.
For the current fiscal, the cabinet approved an expenditure of Rs. 44 crore for development of fisheries in the state.
The proposal stipulates restoration of old ponds (1250 hectare) at 50% subsidy, setting up 20 fish feed mill and 120 hatcheries at 50% subsidy, developing new water source at 60% subsidy, construction of 2000 tube wells at 80% subsidy and installing solar pumps at 90% subsidy.