Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday inaugurated the first phase irrigation of Subarnarekha Irrigation Project (SIP) at Badachhatra under Saraskana block in Mayurbhanj district.
Though incomplete, the project is aimed at irrigating nearly 2 lakh hectares (ha) of agriculture land in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts. In the first phase 20,000 ha of land would be irrigated.
Addressing a public gathering, Naveen said Subarnarekha Irrigation Project would be beneficial for the economic development of the farmers in the region.
He stressed on boosting agriculture facilities in the State stating that the Government was always ready to provide all support to farmers through its schemes like Biju Krushak Yojana which have already been successfully implemented.
As per the 12th five year plan, the State Government has estimated to irrigate at least 13 lakh ha of land among which, so far nearly one lakh ha has been provided with irrigation facilities.
The multi-crore project was taken up after the tripartite agreement among the co-basin states of Jharkhand (then within Bihar), Odisha and West Bengal was signed on January 17, 1976. Funds crunch had hit the project.
Initially pegged at Rs 300 crore, the project cost at present has escalated to over Rs4,500 crore.
Sources said Rs 3,200 crore has already been spent on the project funded by World Bank, Government of India under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Government of Odisha and NABARD.
In the next phase at least five blocks including Saraskana, Bangiriposi, Baripada, Suliapada and Kuliona in the district would be benefited and 70,000 ha of land irrigated.
“Government has built big, medium and small check dams through which nearly 50 percent land of the State could be irrigated. It is also trying to set up more irrigation projects in near future. For the betterment of the farmers, the government has given agriculture insurance to 50,000 lakh farmers and free mobile facilities,” he said.
Later in the day, the Chief Minister laid foundation stone for the construction of Jharpokharia-Sankhabhang RD road and visited the site of Subarnarekha Irrigation Project.
He was accompanied by Textiles and Handloom Minister Sarojini Hembram.