BHUBANESWAR: Even as Odisha government claims to have created additional irrigation potential for 13.20 lakh hectare in the last 10 years, 72 out of 314 blocks in the State still do not have irrigation facility for 35 per cent of cultivable land.
After coming to power in 2000, the Naveen Patnaik-led Government had promised to rationalise irrigation development in the State by providing irrigation to at least 35 per cent of cultivable land in each block.
The state government’s claim of meeting the target in 126 blocks have been disputed by elected representatives, mostly from western Odisha districts.
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According to the Water Resources department, irrigation potential of 35 per cent has been created in six out of 14 blocks in Balangir district. Water Resources Minister Raghunandan Das said works are being expedited for completion of 29 minor irrigation projects and 37 check dams.
The government has set a target to complete 1,500 deep bore-wells in Balangir this year. Efforts are being made to remove hurdles for construction of the Lower Suktel and Lower Indra projects. The target will be met after completion of these projects, he said.
Out of the total 3.46 lakh hectares, arable land in Balangir, 1.73 lakh ha has been irrigated till March, 2019, the Minister said.
Dismissing the government claim, senior BJP leader and former minister KV Singh Deo said the district does not have more than three per cent irrigation.
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While a majority of the minor irrigation projects in Balangir are lying defunct, the mega lift point inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Gudbela is yet to be made operational.
The State has a cultivated land of 61.80 lakh ha. It was assessed that 49.90 lakh ha can be brought under irrigation coverage through major, medium and minor (flow & lift) irrigation projects.
However, irrigation facilities have been created for 41.89 lakh ha by end of last financial year.
The Minister further said 15 large and medium irrigation projects are under construction in the state. This apart, the government has taken up 153 minor irrigation projects, 117 mega lift points, 832 check dams and 1,450 community lift irrigation projects.
Das said 25 new minor irrigation projects in collaboration with NABARD are under construction. This apart, the state government has set a target to build 20,000 deep bore-wells and 600 tube-wells this year.