Despite promising irrigation in at least 35 per cent of the cultivable land in the state, the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa has failed to provide assured irrigation in less than one-third of the total blocks of the state in its 14-year reign.
A compliance audit of water resources department for the year ending March, 2013 by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that of the 61.65 lakh hectares of cultivable land in 314 blocks, the department could achieve the goal in only 60 blocks till June, 2013. The audit report, which was laid in the Assembly on Monday, revealed that 67 out of the 95 blocks in western Orissa had not received the minimum 35 per cent irrigation facilities.
Though the government in its reply to the CAG said efforts are being made to augment irrigation potential in the deficit blocks through major and minor irrigation projcts, the audit found 458 minor irrigation projects were completely defunct as of March, 2009.
This led to loss of irrigation in 38,653 hectares ayacut area. The department spent Rs 528.79 crore during 2009-13 towards repair, renovation and restoration of the projects under various schemes, but the number of defunct minor irrigation projects rose to 524.