Mulwad irrigation scheme yet to be energised

READY FOR SERVICE: Pipes have been laid from the Mulwad lift irrigation scheme to irrigate land in the command area.

READY FOR SERVICE: Pipes have been laid from the Mulwad lift irrigation scheme to irrigate land in the command area.  

Suresh Bhat

BIJAPUR: Though the Mulwad lift irrigation scheme is ready to irrigate a considerable portion of its command area of 30,850 hectares, the delay in energising it has rendered the project idle.

While the main pumphouse at Baluti village on the banks of the Alamatti backwaters was readied as early as 2003, the second pumphouse at Hanumapur village was completed only in August this year.

All infrastructure to energise the scheme, including two 220-KV substations — one each at Baluti and Hanumapur — are in place. Transmission lines have been drawn from the main receiving station at Basavanabagewadi, which is 35 km away from the project site. But the Chief Electrical Inspectorate to the Government (CEIG), which has inspected the infrastructure, is yet to give its consent to energise the scheme.

However, Executive Engineer V.K. Potdar told The Hindu that the CEIG is expected to give its permission to energise the project next week. The trial run, which was to be held last month, has been rescheduled to November 20, he said.

Once the trial run is completed, water will be released into the canals perhaps from December. The scheme will provide irrigation to nearly 7,000 hectares of land (nearly 17,300 acres) through the east and west canal systems, he added.

Revised plan

The last revised plan put the project cost at Rs. 270.13 crores. However, according to sources in Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd. (KBJNL), the inordinate delay in executing the project has led to an escalation in the cost, and the expenditure so far has crossed Rs. 290 crores, including Rs. 18.5 crores spent on power infrastructure. The project still needs Rs. 50 crores, they added.

The 17.4-km east canal is almost complete. Of the six distributaries, work on five is over, and construction of the last one is under way. However, a lot of work is pending on the west canal, which is expected to irrigate 25,850 hectares. The length of the west canal has been restricted to 78 km from 85 km to ensure early completion of work, which has caused concern among farmers. However, according to KBJNL officials, this is owing to the changed alignment of the canal, and there will be no decrease in the command area of 25,850 hectares.

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