A canal of the Subernarekha multipurpose Project at Chandil. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, June 22: The Union government has promised Jharkhand a grant of Rs 600 crore this financial year to speed up the Subernarekha Multi-purpose Project (SMP), which is aimed at irrigating over two lakh hectares in the state.
The Centre’s assurance came on Monday during a discussion between state water resources secretary Santosh Kumar Satpathy and his Union counterpart D.V. Singh in New Delhi.
“The Union water resources ministry will soon release Rs 600 crore to the state for speedy execution of the irrigation project. The pace of execution of SMP will pick up,” Satpathy told The Telegraph.
The central funds will be released under the accelerated irrigation benefit programme (AIBP), which has declared the decades-long project an interstate plan of national importance. The SMP envisages supplying water through dams, distributaries, canals and barrages under it for irrigation as well as industrial and domestic purposes.
State water resources department special secretary B.C. Nigam said the total estimated cost of SMP had swelled over Rs 6,000 crore, of which nearly Rs 2,200 crore had already been spent since 1977-78, when the project was begun with initial assistance from the World Bank.
Satpathy added that they aimed to provide water channelled through Chandil dam and its canals for irrigation under SMP in a 20,000-hectare area starting this winter. Orissa will also get sufficient water through the Galudih barrage and its canals to irrigate over 6,000 acres of agricultural land.
The state now needs to get the detailed project reports on various construction work under the SMP vetted before the Central Water Commission. The deadline to complete the multi-purpose project, which has been extended several times, is 2015-16.
Sources, however, added that the state needed to wake up from its slumber to complete the project within the deadline. Satpathy pointed out that the Orissa government would have to pay 96 per cent of the total project cost for structures beyond the Galudih barrage near Ghatshila.
Apart from irrigating 2,00,000 hectares of agricultural land in Jharkhand, the SMP is also slated to meet the water requirements for over 90,000 hectares in Orissa. Bengal, on the other hand, will also receive water under the project to irrigate a few thousand acres.
The SMP is one of the biggest long-pending irrigation schemes in the state, apart from projects such as Kanhar reservoir, Ajay barrage, Punasi reservoir and Suru reservoir.