Special Correspondent

GULBARGA: The revised estimated project cost of stages I and II of the Upper Krishna Project (UKP) has been fixed at Rs. 10,371.67 crore. Up to the end of March 2009, the Government spent Rs. 9,989.80 crore on the project, while the anticipated expenditure during 2009-10 was Rs. 643.88 crore.

Official sources told The Hindu here on Saturday that phase II of stage I and stage II works of the UKP were on the verge of completion. As against an irrigation potential of 6.22 lakh hectares projected under the UKP, 6.10 lakh hectares would be brought under the irrigation network by March 2010.

Till the end of March 2009, the sources said, the total irrigation potential created was just over six lakh hectares. During the current financial year, another 10,300 hectares were brought under the irrigation network.

They also said an additional 75,000 hectares had been brought under the irrigation network in all three categories: medium, major and minor irrigation. The cumulative irrigation potential created under all three heads excluding groundwater irrigation would be more than 34.84 lakh hectares by the month-end. This was against the 34.09 lakh hectares under irrigation at the end of March 2009. The sources said 47 major and medium irrigation projects that had been completed so far provided irrigation to 8.96 lakh hectares of farmland, and 25 major and 53 medium irrigation projects that were under different stages of completion had so far provided an irrigation potential of 15.32 lakh hectares.

The entire modernisation of the Bhadra canal system, taken up at an estimated cost of Rs. 951 crore, has now been included in the Prime Minister's Special Package as per revised guidelines. Initially, the Government had allowed extension of canals only up to Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts under the modernisation programme. The sources said the Upper Bhadra Project now envisaged irrigation of drought-prone areas in Chikmagalur and Chitradurga districts and drinking water supply to water-starved areas in Tumkur and Kolar districts.