Irrigation Projects Current Affairs
CCEA approves Special Package for Irrigation Projects in drought prone areas of Vidarbha, Marathwada
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved implementation of Centrally Sponsored-Scheme for completion of 83 minor irrigation projects and 8 major or medium irrigation projects in Maharashtra’s drought prone areas of Vidharbha, Marathawada regions.
The special package aims to create additional potential of 3.77 lakh hectares in these drought prone areas. It will ensure assured source of water to farmers in command area of these projects. This will increase yield of their crops and thereby increase the income of the farmers.
The projects included under special package will be funded under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP) and are planned to be completed by December 2019. Progress of projects will be monitored by State as well as Central Water Commission (CWC).
The overall balance cost of projects is estimated to be Rs. 13,651.61 crore. Central Assistance for implementation of these projects will be Rs. 3,831.41 crore and rest will be provided by State Government which may be arranged through NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).
On completion of these projects, utilization of irrigation potential of about 3.77 lakh ha will transform agriculture scenario of these drought prone region resulting in generation of substantially more employment opportunities through increase in cropping intensity, change in cropping pattern, agro processing and other ancillary activities. It will result employment generation of approximately 341 lakh man-days for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers.
Maharashtra has experienced hydrological and agricultural drought during three years period from 2012 to 2016. The situation was worst in Vidharbha and Marathawada region with high incidence rate of suicides by farmers. Besides, these regions, drought prone areas (DPA) in rest of the state also had experienced distress in recent years. These irrigation projects are ongoing projects, but they were languishing due to fund constraints.
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.