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Friday, February 26, 2021

2023 set as revised deadline for Gosikhurd irrigation project

The Centre has also agreed to allocate Rs 5,000 crore to complete the project which has the potential to irrigate 2.5 lakh hectares of land

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 27, 2021 10:34:24 pm
The project caters to three districts of Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Bhandara in Vidarbha. Incomplete canals and rehabilitation of affected villages had caused the delay to the project’s completion. (File)

The year of 2023 has been set as the revised deadline for completing the national irrigation project of Gosikhurd in Maharashtra. This is the tenth deadline for the project spanning over three decades.

The decision of setting the revised deadline was taken at a meeting in New Delhi, convened by Union Minister for Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil and Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis.

At the meeting, a decision was taken to address the technical hurdles and expedite the project to ensure its completion in two years. The Centre has also agreed to allocate Rs 5,000 crore to complete the project which has the potential to irrigate 2.5 lakh hectares of land.

The project caters to three districts of Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Bhandara in Vidarbha. Incomplete canals and rehabilitation of affected villages had caused the delay to the project’s completion.

Speaking to media Gadkari said, “There are some technical issues which should be immediately addressed. At present, allocation of Rs 5,000 crore is required which the Centre is willing to sanction.” “The project was started 32 years ago. It was estimated at Rs 384 crore. As it progressed, its cost escalated to Rs 18,500 crore. Therefore, we have decided that it should be completed by 2023,” he added.

Since the irrigation project got the national status, the Centre’s deadline for its completion was 2021. This meant that if the project remained incomplete after the deadline, it would be the state’s liability to fund the project to finish it.

“Considering these aspects, we took a decision to fast-track the project. The work orders will have to be issued and contract assigned by the state water resources department,” Gadkari said.

Fadnavis said, “We will urge finance minister Ajit Pawar to give nod to simplify the process and facilitate direct fund transfer from the Centre to the state water resources department. This would curtail procedural delay by four to six months.”

While reaffirming the government’s commitment to complete the project within the stipulated time, Patil said, “Apart from Gosikhurd, all irrigation projects shortlisted under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojna (PMKSY) were also discussed. We have decided to tackle the hurdles and the Centre has assured to extend financial assistance.”

Under the PMKSY, 28 irrigation projects were approved. Besides, there were 108 irrigation projects approved under the Baliraja Chetana Yojna. Also, projects in six distressed districts of Vidarbha worth Rs 10,800 were also considered to be initiated through the state-Centre financial partnership.

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