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Karnataka - Udupi Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Clearance hastens work on irrigation project

Ganesh Prabhu

Expert team from New Delhi submits report on Varahi project

  • State Govt. approved project in 1979; Rs. 37 crores spent till date
  • Project may be included in Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Scheme
  • Power generation plant, diversion weir built under project
  • Expected to revive Brahmavar sugar factory once completed

    ON TIME? Construction is progressing at a brisk pace on the Varahi irrigation project at Siddapur in Udupi district.

    UDUPI: With the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests giving environmental clearance, the Varahi Irrigation Project in the district, which is pending completion for the past 25 years, is likely to be commissioned soon.

    A team of experts from the ministry led by the Chief Engineer of the Central Water Commission, Ravinder Singh, visited the project site on April 12 and submitted its report. The Centre gave its clearance to the project on April 20. With this, all approvals have been obtained, and the project is expected to be completed by December 2007.

    According to the Executive Engineer of the project, Manjunath Nairi, the chances of the Rs. 345-crore project being included in the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Project (AIBP) of the Union Government are bright. The Technical Subcommittee of the State Government is expected to submit its report to the Centre in this regard. If the project gets included in the AIBP, it will get a Central assistance of 30 per cent and the remaining 70 cent per cent as loan, he said.

    Diversion weir

    The Varahi, which originates at Guddekoppa in Hosanagar taluk of Shimoga district, joins the Arabian Sea at Gangolli in Kundapur taluk. A diversion weir has been constructed under the project at Siddapur in Kundapur. Also, a power generation station has been constructed upstream. Every day, 1,100 cusecs of water is released from the station, which will be used to irrigate 15,702 hectares of land in Udupi district. Of this, 8,324 hectares of land is in Kundapur taluk and 7,378 hectares in Udupi taluk.

    The completion of the Right Bank Canal will bring 1,992 hectares of land under irrigation, while the Left Bank Canal will irrigate 10,987 hectares of land. The completion of the canal attached to the Varahi lift irrigation scheme will irrigate 2,733 hectares of land. (The State Government took up the Varahi lift irrigation scheme in 1992 to help sugarcane growers and the ailing Brahmavar sugar factory in the district).

    The State Government approved the Varahi Project in 1979 at an estimated cost of Rs. 9.43 crores. But the project progressed at a tardy pace owing to the fact that the dam would submerge 1,019 acres of forestland. But in 2001, the project plan was changed and it focussed on irrigation, because of which only 129.60 hectares of reserved forest was required for the project. The Union Ministry f Environment and Forests gave permission for the project on March 12, 2004. According to Mr. Nairi, only 26 to 29 hectares of land will get submerged.

    A sum of Rs. 37 crores has been spent on the project in the past 25 years, including Rs. 16.65 crores spent on the project between November 2004 and March 2005.

    Works worth Rs. 48.67 crores have been taken up at the project site this year, which includes Rs. 29 crores spent on the diversion weir, Rs. 9.11 crores spent on the right and left bank canals, and Rs. 10.56 crores spent on aqueduct works. The project was brought under the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam in January 2004. When completed, the project, besides helping farmers, is also expected to revive the sugar factory.

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