Minister for Major and Medium Irrigation M.B. Patil has said the Rs. 4,000-crore project to modernise the Narayanpur Left Bank Canal (NLBC), funded under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), would begin during the closure period of the canal and will be completed within three years.

Speaking to presspersons after inspecting the work at the Balbatti lift point of the Mallabhad Lift Irrigation Project in Jewargi taluk of the district on Wednesday, Mr. Patil said that in addition to strengthening and increasing the capacity of the NLBC, which was the lifeline of irrigation projects in Gulbarga, Yadgir, and Bijapur districts, modernisation and upgrading of the branch canals, including Shahapur, Jewargi, Mudbol, and Indi canals, would be taken up.

Discussions held

To a question, Mr. Patil said the State government had initiated discussions with the Maharashtra government to ensure minimum flow in the Bhima throughout the year without affecting the interests offarmers of both States.

He said that he had spoken to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the response had been encouraging.

He said both governments would continue their discussion on the issue and Karnataka had placed a demand for releasing an additional 15 tmcft of water from Ujjini dam to meet the demand of farmers in the downstream of the Bhima in Karnataka.

Mallabad project

Mr. Patil said the Mallabad Lift Irrigation project with three lift points at Balbatti, Jamkhandi and Nagnur would be completed in all respects within two years.

In the first phase, work at the Balbatti lift point, which was in the advanced stages of completion, would be completed by February next year. Water would be released from the Balbatti lift point to 10,000 hectares of parched land in 16 villages in Jewargi taluk and two villages in Shahapur taluk next season.

To a question, he said that to irrigate the 10,000 hectares of land, another 200 cusecs of water may be required to be lifted from Jewargi Branch Canal (JBC). The canal had to be strengthened for this. The funds available under the AIBP for the NLBC would be utilised for the modernisation of the JBC also.

Ajay Singh, Jewargi MLA; Kapil Mohan, Managing Director of the Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigama Ltd., and Allamprabhu Patil, MLC, were among those who accompanied the Minister.

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