BHUBANESWAR: The 11th plan period will end by March but the promised irrigation facilities for at least 35 per cent of the cultivable area in each block, seems a distant dream.
Though the State Government claims to have created irrigation facilities for over 45 lakh hectare (ha) by the end of last financial year, the Opposition is not impressed and termed it as highly exaggerated.
The State has a total cultivable land of 61.65 lakh ha. Creating irrigation facilities for 45 lakh ha means that more than 70 per cent of the land is under irrigation cover. In fact, irrigation facilities have been created for only 30 lakh ha while the percentage of land under assured irrigation will be much less, sources said.
Not many years ago, the Naveen Patnaik Government announced that it would bring at least 35 per cent of farmland in each block under irrigation cover within the 11th plan period (2007-12).
An estimated 6.60 lakh ha had to be covered in the deficient 198 blocks.
Responding to a query on the additional irrigation facilities created by the Government on behalf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Parliamentary Minister Raghunath Mohanty told the winter session of the Assembly that the Government has brought more than 1.53 lakh ha under the Biju Krushak Vikash Yojana (BKVY).
The State-sponsored BKVY was launched in 2001 with the objective to bridge the gap by reviving the derelict minor irrigation projects and setting up new minor and lift irrigation projects in areas having low irrigation facilities.
The Minister told the Assembly that the Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation had taken up 6,547 lift irrigation projects out of which 5,629 were completed since the launch of BKVJ. These LI projects provided irrigation to 1,22,095 ha of cultivable land.
He further claimed that the Orissa Agro Industries Corporation had taken up 1,947 lift irrigation projects under the BKVY out of which 1,360 were completed.
These projects have created irrigation facilities for 27,476 ha farmland, he added. The Government has created irrigation facilities for 2.11 lakh ha during the last five years.
In 2006-07, it created irrigation facilities for 25,590 ha with an expenditure of
` 1,006 crore.