The Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bihar and Jharkhand for completion of balance works of North Koel reservoir project.
Moreover, supplementary Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Ministry of Water Resources, National Water Development Agency, NABARD with both states for funding under Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) for the project.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 30 months at the estimated cost of Rs. 1622.27 crores. Of this Rs. 1013.11 crores will be borne by Union Government as grant from LTIF under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY). I60% will be financed by Central Government from LTIF and remaining 40% of cost will be borne by the States through loan financed by NABARD.
North Koel Reservoir Project
The project is situated on North Koel river, tributary on Sone River. It aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in most backward and drought prone areas in Jharkhand and Bihar.
The construction of the projected originally had started in 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar forest department over environmental concerns.
The Mandal dam as part of the project had threatened to submerge portions of the Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park. The National Wildlife Board (NWB) had cleared the project in June 2017 with certain conditions.
North Koel River
North Koel River rises on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand. It joins the Sone River (only right bank tributary of Ganga River) a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar. Its principal tributaries are the Auranga and the Amanat. It meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.