BHAWANIPATNA: Paddy crops on more than 100 acres of land were destroyed following a breach in the newly constructed Indravati mega lift canal near Majhiguda under Koksara block in Kalahandi district in the wee hours of Saturday.
Sources said a 10-foot-long breach developed on the embankment of the canal inundating farm land in the low lying areas and leading to siltation in more than 20 acres of paddy field.
Built at a cost of Rs 986.71 crore, the Indravati lift irrigation project was dedicated to the state by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on January 14 and water was released in the mega lift canal for the first time for irrigation on July 8.
Though the reason behind the breach was yet to be ascertained, locals attributed it to substandard construction of canal embankments and linings.
Chief construction engineer of Indravati project Bibhusharan Mishra, executive engineer of lift canal system Kondol Rao, representative of L& T, the constructing agency and other officials visited the spot to ascertain the cause of breach.
“We are investigating what could be the possible reasons that led to the breach. As per agreement, the constructing agency will look after the maintenance for five years. The entire stretch of the embankment will be inspected once again,” Rao said.
Locals alleged that the embankment had developed cracks a couple of months after the inauguration of the project, but no one paid any heed. The weak embankment could not withstand heavy flow of water released due to incessant rain in the upstream causing the breach, they claimed.
Meanwhile, a team of revenue officials led by the Koksara tehsildar visited the spot to assess the damage. The affected villagers will be compensated as per rules, the officials assured.