Fresh hope for Bihar farmers as Durgawati project to be fully functional by March 2018
’We have done the re-tendering and awarded the works to new contractors to operationalize the canal system by March next year,’ said Bihar water resources development minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh.patna Updated: Oct 15, 2017 18:49 IST
The Durgawati dam and reservoir project, purporting to provide irrigation facility mainly in the Kaimur and Rohtas districts of south-western Bihar, will be fully operational by early next year as work on the 29 canals already in the final stages.
Officials said the Durgawati reservoir project, which would help lakhs of farmers irrigate their land during lean months, though officially inaugurated in 2014, has not been fully operational due to the canal system lying incomplete.
“We have done the re-tendering and awarded the works to new contractors to operationalize the canal system. It will be completed by March next year,” said,water resources minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh.
For several decades, the Durgawati project has been lying dormant owing to factors like funds crunch, land acquisition technicalities and absence of works machinery. Its reservoir was completed a few years back following which former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi inaugurated the project in 2014.
But, officials said, water from the reservoir could not be channelized due to the canal system, called the command system, was not fully functional in last couple of years. Only two or three canals were built when the project was inaugurated in 2014.
“Now, the work on the canals is in full swing. The target month set for completing the works on canals is March next year,” said principal secretary, water resources, Arun Kumar Singh.
The canal system is expected to irrigate 33,000 hectares of land in Kaimur and Rohtas districts, known for producing high quality rice and wheat due to the fertile soil. Lack of irrigation facilities has been a major grouse for farmers in this belt and affected their production, adversely.
Officials also said work on the proposed Indrapuri reservoir on Sone river at Nauhata block in Rohtas district was being pursued on a priority and the reservoir, having a water level up to height of 70 metres, is expected to be completed by 2019.
The reservoir would provide water for irrigation in the entire Rohtas belt. The potential of irrigation from this reservoir is 8.74 lakh hectares. A 395 MW hydro-electric power plant would be also set up at the reservoir.
In March this year, chief minister Nitish Kumar had visited the site of the upcoming reservoir and dam to inspect the progress of the work. The survey work of the dam has been going on and earth work has started, officials said.