Other States

Odisha still pursuing decade-old minimum irrigation target

A decade after the Naveen Patnaik government drew master plan to provide at least 35 per cent irrigation in all 314 blocks, targeted minimum irrigation coverage is yet to be extended to as many as 125 blocks.

According to latest report prepared by the Water Resource department, 125 out of 314 blocks in the State are found to be short of target. In 2005-06, the State government had announced to bring at least 35 per cent of cultivable land in each block under irrigation coverage.

There are 21 such blocks where achieving minimum 35 per cent irrigation coverage is a difficult task. Of 21 blocks, highest three blocks each are found to be in forested in Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts.

There are around 4.91 lakh ha cultivable land available in these 21 blocks, but irrigation potential was created only for 69,937 ha of area which is 14.24 per cent.

The State government needs to provide irrigation facilities for rest 1,02,015 ha of land – 35 per cent of total cultivable land.

The State government is now hopeful of creating 35 per cent irrigation potential in 59 out of 125 irrigation deficit blocks in the current financial year.

Ever since Biju Janata Dal came to power in the State way back in 2000, the portfolio of Water Resource has been mostly held by Mr. Patnaik. Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had pointed out that target of providing 35 per cent irrigation facilities was not achieved in 152 of the State’s 314 blocks. However, no exigency was shown to pace creation of irrigation potential.

The slow pace of creating irrigation potential can be gauged from the fact that out of 14 blocks in Bolangir district, 11 have not achieved minimum 35 per cent of coverage. As per revised plan, Muribahal and Tureikela blocks of the district could touch the mark only during 2018-19.

According to information obtained by exercise of the RTI Act, around Rs.140 crore have been spent in Bolangir for construction of 600 watersheds within 14 years, but no sizeable chunk of land has been brought under irrigation coverage.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 7:55:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-still-pursuing-decadeold-minimum-irrigation-target/article7493368.ece

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