Bennethora dam full, but fields are dry

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Dam ready: A file photo of the Bennethora dam at Herur village in Gulbarga district
Dam ready: A file photo of the Bennethora dam at Herur village in Gulbarga district

T.V. Sivanandan

The major irrigation project was inaugurated in 2006

GULBARGA: The Bennethora major irrigation project is yet to provide water to agricultural fields in the command area, even though it was inaugurated two years ago.

So far more than Rs. 320 crore has been spent on the project in Gulbarga district, which has been designed to irrigate 20,234 hectares in drought-prone areas in Chitapur and Sedam taluks.

Inaugurated in 2006

The project was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy with much fanfare in July 2006. That was the only time when the gates of the right and left bank canals were opened, and they were closed immediately after the inauguration ceremony was over.

Although the project is shown as completed in official records, the Government is yet to notify in the gazette the total area brought under the irrigation network by the project for the simple reason that no land is being irrigated with water from the Bennethora project.

Officials in the Irrigation Department said that the mandatory joint inspection by senior officials to determine whether water released from the dam reaches all the agriculture fields in the command area was yet to take place. Without such an inspection, it would not be possible for the State Government to notify the area irrigated by the project.

The authorities have not constituted the Irrigation Consultative Committee for the Bennethora project to decide on a schedule for the release of water into the canals.

The project has been designed to utilise 5.75 thousand million cubic feet of water from the Bennethora river, which is a tributary of the Bhima in the Krishna basin. Originally designed to be completed at a cost of Rs. 9 crore in 1972-73, it dragged on for decades because of scarcity of funds and Government’s failure to monitor progress.

Little hope

Irrigation Department officials said there was little hope of farmers in the command area getting water during the kharif season this year because field irrigation channels were not ready.The water impounded in the Bennethora dam for seven years has remained unused.




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