BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Government is facing a daunting challenge to create additional irrigation potential for 10 lakh hectares (ha) by 2019, its deep borewell scheme has faltered due to farmers’ inability to pay their share.
Since launching of the scheme in 2010-11, the State Government has planned to sink about 80,000 borewells to provide irrigation facility to small and marginal farmers covering cultivated area of minimum two ha.
Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC), the nodal agency for implementing the scheme, is claimed to have sunk 59,055 deep borewells and energised 40,134 units. The remaining borewells could not be operationalised due to either non-availability of power or poor financial condition of beneficiaries to pay the cost towards service connection and other charges of power distribution companies.
Chief Secretary AP Padhi reviewed the progress of the scheme at a high level meeting here on Thursday. OLIC Managing Director RS Gopalan told the meeting that steps have been taken for energisation of 4,670 borewells. As 14,251 beneficiaries have not deposited money for power connection, the Corporation is advising them to take credit from cooperative banks to meet their financial obligations.
Meanwhile, 5207 applications have been forwarded to different cooperative banks to extend credit to beneficiary farmers to meet the cost of service connection and other charges of distribution companies.
As per the scheme, beneficiary contribution is up to 10 per cent of the project cost (subject to a maximum of `20,000) which has been fixed at `3.88 lakh. However, in case of farmers belonging to Scheduled or BPL categories, the beneficiary share is `10,000.
While the State Government provides more than 95 per cent of the project cost, the beneficiaries have to bear all cost towards service connection, inspection fee and security deposit for power supply, official sources said.
The State Government has so far utilised `1200 crore under the programme and created irrigation potential for 2.33 lakh ha land in kharif season and about 65,586 ha in rabi season.
The meeting decided to install 20,000 deep borewells during the current financial year. It was decided to go for composite tender system which will include both boring and energisation, the sources added.