HT Explainer: What the Dadupur Nalvi irrigation scheme is all about | punjab | Hindustan Times
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HT Explainer: What the Dadupur Nalvi irrigation scheme is all about

The Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme was conceptualised in 1985 to recharge groundwater and provide canal irrigation in Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Ambala districts. About 190 acres were initially acquired for the scheme.

punjab Updated: Oct 07, 2017 15:33 IST
A portion of the canal on which work had started.
A portion of the canal on which work had started. (HT photo)

The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government’s decision to scrap the Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme by denotifying about 1,000 acres acquired for the project has warmed the political climate in Haryana. Leaders of opposition Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) have gone all out to slam the government, holding public meetings at Yamunanagar to protest against its “anti-farmer” move. HT takes a look at the contours of the scheme and why it failed.

What is Dadupur-Nalvi Irrigation scheme?

The Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme was conceptualised in 1985 to recharge groundwater and provide canal irrigation in Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Ambala districts. About 190 acres were initially acquired for the scheme.

When did the project take off?

The irrigation scheme was approved by the state government in October 2005.

PROJECT FACTFILE
  • Total land needed for project: 2,246 acres
  • Land actually acquired : 1,019 acres for construction of main channels — Shahbad feeder, Shahbad and Nalvi distributories
  • Money paid for land acquisition: Rs 192 crore
  • Expenditure incurred on execution of three channels: Rs 111 crore

According to the project report, 590 cusecs of surplus water from Dadupur complex was to be carried through Shahbad feeder and the project was to provide irrigation to 92,532 hectares, besides recharging of groundwater. A total of 1,019 acres was acquired for the project.

What was the implementation model of the irrigation scheme?

The scheme was to be completed in three phases. The first phase involving construction of 50-km Shahbad-Nalvi feeder and 24-km Shahbad distributory has been completed at a cost of Rs 160 crore.

Under the second phase, the work for the revival of Saraswati river and Rakshi Nadi, both having a capacity of 200 cusecs each, was taken up. The construction of Nalvi distributory was also undertaken and an expenditure of Rs 48 crore has been incurred so far.

The construction work of the third phase, which included building 23 distributories and minors offtaking from the main canal, was deferred due to protests by farmers who do not want to give their land alleging that water would be available to them only during the rainy season when they do not require water.

How has the non-implementation of the third phase affected the project?

As minors and distribution channels could not be built, the main canal remained non-functional. The benefits of irrigation to 92,532 hectares as envisaged in the scheme could not be derived.

Why did the government decide to de-notify the land acquired for the scheme?

The rising cost of land due to enhancements ordered by the courts was the main reason for abandoning the project. Dissatisfied with the compensation, a large number of land owners filed cases of enhancement of compensation. The Punjab and Haryana high court in 2016 awarded compensation at the rate Rs 116 lakh per acre plus incidental charges. Thus an amount of Rs 566 crore will have to be paid to farmers for acquiring 167 acres. The state government did not find the scheme feasible and decided to abandon it.

What were the observations of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)?

The CAG observed that the project was conceived without any survey about its usefulness and without ascertaining the views of the villagers. As a result, the entire expenditure incurred on the scheme was rendered unfruitful. The irrigation department stated that the project had helped in recharging the groundwater of the area but the CAG said the reply was not convincing as the primary objective of the project of providing canal irrigation to 92,532 hectares of land could not be fulfilled.