T.V. Sivanandan

19,105 hectares to benefit; water to be released next season

Work on distributaries will be over by the month-end Under the project, drinking water will be supplied to villages

GULBARGA: The Markandeya medium irrigation project in Belgaum district, designed to irrigate 19,105 hectares of land utilising 4 tmcft of water, is likely to be completed on time.

The Karnataka Neeravari Nigama, which took over the project work from the Irrigation Department a few years ago, hopes to release water into canals and distributaries next season.

The Markandeya Barrage, constructed at a scenic spot near Shirur village in Belgaum district, is to facilitate utilisation of 4 tmcft of water from 729 tmcft allocated to the State by the Bachawat Tribunal under Scheme `A'.

The barrage is constructed across the perennial Markandeya river, a major tributary of the Ghataprabha, which joins the Krishna river.

The project envisages irrigation in Belgaum, Hukkeri, Gokak and Saundatti taluks of Belgaum district. It was sanctioned in 1996-97 at an estimated cost of Rs. 120 crores. But for a three-year delay in the initial period because of problems related to rehabilitation, the project would have been completed much earlier.

According to Nagaraj, Executive Engineer in charge of the Markandeya project, work on distributaries and field irrigation channels will be over by the month-end.

Mr. Nagaraj told The Hindu that work on the 72-km right bank canal has been completed up to the 62nd km. Work on the 15-km left bank canal is going on.

He said a rehabilitation programme is complete in all nine villages affected - Gutti, Nandi, Kenchanhati, Wavinaholi, Bailur, Pariholi, Rangadholi, Gangenhai, and Linganhatti. As many as 4,030 people have been affected by submersion of land in the backwaters of the barrage, and the Government has taken steps to pay compensation to families who lost houses and agriculturists who lost their land in these nine villages and Heggeri, Guttigudi and Kanakikop villages.

As per the cropping pattern finalised by the authorities for the project, 10,845 hectares of land will get water from the project in the kharif season, and 6775 hectares in the rabi season; 1,485 hectares will be provided water in both seasons. The project envisages drinking water supply to villages.