Jajpur: The construction work on the left bank canal (LBC) of the Rengali Multipurpose Project across Brahmani river in this district is progressing at a snail’s pace.
It is so because of delay in getting forest clearance and land acquisition process. Envisaged in the 1980s, this project’s main objective is to control flood, to generate hydro-power and help in irrigation.
As of now, construction of two canals-right bank canal (RBC) and left bank canal (LBC) is going on. The LBC passes through Jajpur district. It has been estimated that this 141 kilometre-long canal will irrigate 1,14,300 hectares.
It was in March, 2015 that the JICA had signed an MoU to provide a loan amounting to Rs 2,250 crore. It was then estimated that the canal would irrigate 39,416 hectares of land in Dhenkanal, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts.
However, out of 2,129 hectares, only 1,700 hectares have so far been acquired. This apart, a decision with respect to compensate the loss of vegetation over 177 hectares of forested land is getting delayed.
According to a source, the second phase environment permission has remained stuck for 18 years now even though the water resource department of the state government applied for it way back in 2003.
This is why the hope of farmers of Sukinda, Danagadi and Korei blocks in Jajpur district of getting irrigation facility is drying up. The water resource department had sought permission to convert the category of 2159.43 hectares of forested land in 1993.
Out of this, permission was granted for 2107.404 hectares in the first phase November 21, 1996. Then, the department had again applied for permission for the second phase.
But the Ministry of Forest and Environment had fixed as many as 21 riders to give permission.
So, meeting all the conditions, the water resources department once again applied for permission for converting 1295.3862 hectares of forested land in Angul, Dhenkanal, Athagarh, Cuttack and Keonjhar divisions in 2014.
And the permission for the same has since not been granted. Chief engineer, Rengali Multipurpose Project, Deeptiranjan Panda said, “Efforts are on to irrigate 6,000 hectares of Bhuban area in Dhenkanal district.
But, it will take two more years for the land in Korei block to get water. The delay in getting environment permission has affected the canal construction work.”