Saturday, September 26, 2015

THREE DECADES - 372 Crores to 7,777 Crores to 13,000 Crores - Irrigation Still Alludes Vidarbha Farmers

Is this money for the Politicians to LOOT in the name of the FARMERS?

Chief minister announces Rs 700 crore relief for families displaced by Gosikhurd dam

MUMBAI: In a last-ditch effort to make the state's most tainted and largest irrigation project at Gosikhurd near Nagpur start irrigating farmlands to its full capacity and to rehabilitate its oustees awaiting relief for decades, the state government has announced a fresh package of Rs 700 crore.

But chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed the contractors and engineers of the project to pay from their own pockets to refurbish the substandard works.

The Gosikhurd National Irrigation Project, considered a lifeline for east Vidarbha, is still not complete though planned three decades ago.

In July 2012, TOI had reported that Gosikhurd project in Bhandara district, which was approved at a cost of Rs 372 crore in 1982, was nowhere near completion even as the cost had jumped to Rs 7,777 crore, of which Rs 6,600 crore has already been spent. Moreover, the state had plans to raise the budget for the project to Rs 13,000 crore. Recently, the CAG had pointed out over-expenditure of about Rs 70,000 crore on construction of dams across the state without achieving any irrigation on ground.

Though the Gosikhurd project was meant to irrigate 2.50 lakh hectares in Vidarbha, the actual irrigation potential created till June 30, 2011, was just 34,029 ha and water reached only to 1,582 ha. These disturbing figures were presented by the water resources department to the state assembly during the budget session in 2012. Vidarbha region has recorded over 10,000 farmer suicides in the past decade.

Fadnavis, who had recently visited the project site, said all villages falling within the project area would be rehabilitated and a certain amount would be kept for maintenance of gram panchayats of 34 newly resettled villages. "Besides, a Rs 120-crore fund will be given to complete the Bawanthadi project in the same region," he said. To expand irrigation capacity, acquisition of land and creation of infrastructure, such as concrete roads, water supply system, and power supply, for the resettled villages will be the major works to be undertaken.

As the project had been stalled since February 2012, the central aid dried up following complaints of shoddy work and mismanagement. In 2013, the Centre had offered a much-needed Rs 405 crore.

COURTESY: The Times of India

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