Even as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is being lauded for his efforts resulting in the Centre releasing Rs 405 crore for the Gosikhurd Irrigation Project,it seems this amount would not help the stalled three-decade-old project even stumble back on its feet.
It is not even a tenth of the Rs 7,000 crore needed to complete the national irrigation project to benefit farmers of Vidarbha.
Besides,as senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari points out,the Rs 405 crore being part of the allocation under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) theres is nothing to be elated about it.
Meanwhile,there was no explanation as to how the state government proposes to complete the work on the dam,which would include relief and rehabilitation of villagers and land acquisition,with this paltry amount.
The project cost as revised by the state government in 2008 was Rs 7,777 crore and until March 31,2012,the project expenditure stood at Rs 6,073 crore.
An official said,If we take into account current costs,we still need Rs 7,000 crore.
A government source said,The present allocation will only only help clear pending bills on work undertaken so far and maybe compensate some farmers.
Bhandari said on Saturday,The Chief Minister,it appears,is trying to justify his Delhi visit by touting the Rs 405 crore package for Gosikhurd. But the funds were earmarked under AIBP. So,whats new about the funds?
The project was launched in 1984 at an intitial cost of Rs 372 crore and the foundation stone was laid down by Rajiv Gandhi.
In 2008,the state government revised the project cost to Rs 7,777 crore.
The project is expected to irrigate 2.5 lakh hectares and benefit six districts in Vidarbha and help 30 lakh farmers of the region.