BHUBANESWAR:The Mega Lift irrigation project planned in 2010 to create additional irrigation potential for about three lakh hectares (ha) in rain-fed areas in five years time has not made much headway.
Though the high power committee of the State Government has recommended two projects to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) for financial assistance under the rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF), the Bank has sought some clarification from the Government about operation, maintenance and collection of water cess.
The Water Resources Department is reported to have clarified that operation and maintenance of the projects will be the responsibility of the executing agency.
“There is a provision in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract that the operation and maintenance of the project will be done by the executing agency for a period of five years from the date of commissioning,” official sources said.
Basing on the experience during this time, a suitable mechanism will be devised before transferring the projects to pani panchayat concerned.
To Nabard’s query on higher unit cost and low financial ratio associated with the mega lift project, the department has explained that the unit cost of 2.5 lakh per ha in mega lift is much less than that of flow irrigation where the per ha cost is about Rs 7 lakh.
On collection of water cess, the State Government has said it will be the responsibility of the Revenue Department as per existing practice.
On overlapping of ayacut area of mega lift and existing lift irrigation points (LIPs), the Government said ayacut maps have been shared with Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC) which has been asked to do the needful while preparing project proposals.
Besides, OLIC has been asked not to revive defunct LI points in ayacut areas to be covered by mega lift projects.
The department has further said appropriate policy decision on execution of command area development activities (CADA) will be taken up and put in place before completion of mega lift irrigation project.
The State Government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 673 crore anticipating RIDF assistance of Rs 375 crore for mega lift irrigation project in the current financial year.
- Nabard has sought clarification from Govt about operation, maintenance and collection of water cess
- Water Resources Dept has clarified that operation and maintenance of projects will be the responsibility of executing agency