Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil on Wednesday said that there are no financial constraints to completing the 79 pending irrigation projects in the State.

Land acquisition, acquisition of forest land, and rehabilitation and resettlement, staff shortage and delay in clearances for various projects have hindered the pace of the work on the pending projects, he told presspersons here.

The department has set a target of bringing 9.5 lakh hectares under irrigation facility during the term of the Congress government and irrigation facility would be provided to one lakh hectares of land by completing 13 projects of the 79 pending ones in 2013-14, Mr. Patil, who toured the Krishna basin districts in the last four days, said.

The total irrigation potential of the State is 36.69 lakh hectares while the irrigated area is 27.43 lakh hectares.

The remaining 9.5 lakh hectares would be irrigated in the next five years with an estimated investment of Rs. 45,557 crore, he said.

To address the problem of land acquisition, the department is planning to give market price to land owners instead of government rate and this would encourage people to offer land for projects.

The department has sought allocation of Rs. 10,000 crore every year to complete work on the pending projects, he said.

AIBP

The State will receive Rs. 560 crore from the Union government under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) in 2013-14 against Rs. 200 crore last year to complete work on the pending projects.

The Union government will release funds under the AIBP to take up work on pending projects only and not for new projects. The Union government has proposed to cut grants from 90 per cent to 75 per cent under the AIBP, he said.

The Union government’s share under the scheme is 90 per cent and funding would be utilised to complete projects in the Krishna basin.

An official in the Union Water Resources Ministry had told him that the Ministry had mooted a proposal to reduce grants from 90 per cent to 75 per cent.

The State would have to contribute 25 per cent of the funding against the present 10 per cent, Mr. Patil said.

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