Bolangir: The Lower Suktel irrigation project, a dream project of the residents of Bolangir district, is finally taking shape with the construction of the project reaching its last leg. Works on the spillway and soil embankment of the dam are nearing completion while the gap in between is being filled up in war footing. The project when completed will help irrigate 40,000 hectare of farmland and supply 8.76 million cubic metre (MCM) of drinking water to the residents. According to available information, work on the project may get completed towards the end of June.
A plan has been made to store this year’s rainwater in the Suktel reservoir which will benefit over 1 lakh farmers. Construction of the dam and the irrigation project is being done simultaneously. The project will be the first in the state to have underground pipelines (UGPL) to run on electricity for irrigation purposes instead of constructing conventional canals. The UGPLs will help in irrigating larger tracts of land.
Over Rs 1,700 crore is being spent on the construction of the UGPL. The original Lower Suktel project had plans for the construction of an open canal which was expected to irrigate over 31,000 hectare of farmland in Losingha, Bolangir, Puintala blocks in the district and Tarabha block in neighbouring Subarnapur district. However, after authorities planned the construction of UGPLs instead of the open canal the area which will be irrigated by the project has increased to 40,000 hectare from the initially planned area of 31,000 hectare. It has now been planned that the left UGPL of the project will be used to irrigate 13,000 hectare of farmland in 65 villages and the right UGPL will be used to irrigate 27,000 hectare of farmland in 140 villages.
Meanwhile, construction of a pump house for the right UGPL has started at Khuntapali while for the left UGPL, a pump house is being constructed at Ranipali. Construction of the left UGPL and its pump house is being done by a consultancy firm ‘Megha company’ while the construction of the right UGPL and pump house is being done by L&T consultancy firm. The project will also provide drinking water facilities to Bolangir town and nearby villages.
Over 8.76 MCM of water will be supplied as drinking water which will benefit over 80,000 people. As the project work is nearing completion, people are thronging to the work site to get a glimpse of the mega irrigation project. Chief Construction Engineer of the project Sunil Rout said that the project work is in the final stage and efforts are on to finish other related works as soon as possible. He expressed confidence that very soon the project will be completed. When contacted, Bolangir Collector Chanchal Rana said that work on the project is at the final stage and very soon the project will be completed. He said providing irrigation facilities for the farmlands and supply of drinking water for the residents are the priorities of the project. He ruled out water supply to the industries and dismissed the talks in this regard as rumours and not based on facts. Water supply to the industries is also not mentioned in the detailed project report (DPR), he added.