BHUBANESWAR: Even as major parts of the State are facing a drought-like condition due to deficit rainfall, the Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC) has claimed to have provided irrigation to 14,000 hectare (ha) in the last three days.
This was possible after energisation of some new and repaired lift points. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last week had directed the Energy department to ensure that LI points lying unused due to lack of electricity are operationalised without delay.
Water Resources Minister Raghunandan Das, who reviewed the irrigation potential of OLIC at a high-level meeting here on Sunday, said some new LI points could not be operationalised due to issues relating to power connection while a few old points were disconnected due to pending arrear bills. Managing Director of OLIC Archana Patnaik informed the meeting that 1,10,388 out of 1,21,106 LI points including community LI points, deep borewells and shallow borewells were functional till July 31. While the total capacity of the active LI points is to irrigate 12.46 lakh ha, currently 10.85 lakh ha are being irrigated.
Of the remaining 10,718 defunct LI points, work is on to repair 9,555 projects. These LI points have the potential to irrigate 1.35 lakh ha, she said. The OLIC MD said the power distribution companies have been extending all possible cooperation to supply electricity to these LI points after the government’s assurance that the arrear bills of the discoms will be taken care of. Many LI points were damaged by cyclone Yaas. The corporation is taking the help of the ITI pass out technicians for repair of the defunct LI points, she said.
On August 31, the Chief Minister had ordered that all irrigation points be fixed and restored within seven days. After the CM’s instruction, OLIC chairman Amaresh Patri visited several districts to ensure that defunct LI points are repaired and operationalised.