The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday rapped the state government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) for undue delay in the completion of phase -I of the Omkareshwar irrigation canal project, which will benefit more than two lakh farmers of the state’s Nimar region.
The division bench, comprising justices P K Jaiswal and J K Jain, expressed discontentment with the snail-paced progress of the works towards completion of the project and ordered them to finish it within three weeks and submit a report to the court.
In 2006, the state government planned to expand irrigation network in the Nimar region and started work on the phase -I of the Omkareshwar project. Initially the project was slated to complete within 30 months, but even after 9 years, the work is still underway.
The slow progress of the project prompted Virendra Patidar, a farmer from Khargone district, to file a public interest litigation (PIL) before court in 2011.
“Majority of the works towards construction of canals was accomplished due to continuous monitoring by judiciary,” said advocate Dharmendra Chelawat, cousel for the petitioner.
In a status report submitted by the NVDA before the court in April this year, it said only 10 per cent work on left bank canal is remaining. This claim was however refuted by Patidar and advocate Chelawat.
“The delay has also escalated the cost of the project by more than two times,” said Chelawat.
Initial outlay of the project was `190 crore but the state had spent more than Rs 400 crore on the project till date, he claimed.
A total of 29,000 hectare land in Nimar region, comprising the districts of Barwani, Khargone and Khandwa, will be benefitted with completion of the project.