Balangir’s Lower Suktel Project Fast-tracked; Likely To Be Completed by 2023-24

Balangir’s Lower Suktel irrigation project is now being estimated to be completed by 2023-24 after the State Government fast-tracked the project. The project was expedited after the State Water Resources secretary Anu Garg reviewed the progress of the project.

Garg had recently chaired a meeting where he reviewed the progress of several major and medium irrigation projects, which are under implementation. After checking on the status of these projects, Garg asked officials to ensure clearance of pending issues, rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), and expedition of the earthwork and spillway construction of the project.

Apart from the Lower Suktel project, the secretary also reviewed the progress of the Anandapur barrage project, the Mahanadi Chitratpola island irrigation project, the Subaranarekha irrigation project, the Rengali right and left bank canal projects, the Kanupur irrigation project and the Chheligada irrigation project.

Although the project was flagged off by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2001, it has witnessed several stalls in its duration due to resistance from locals over the R&R issue. Sources in the know said that to clear the blockage, the state administration has arranged for alternative land for those affected.

Once fully completed, the Lower Suktel project will be able to irrigate 32,000 hectares of land in the Balangir and Sonepur districts. Garg also reviewed the status of the Gangadhar Meher Lift Canal System, which was announced in the run-up to the 2017 Bijepur by-election. The project aims to irrigate around 25,600 hectares of drought-hit areas in the Bijepur area of Bargarh district. The project will cost the exchequer around Rs 1200 crore, which is expected to be ready before 2023-24.

“The progress of the project is satisfactory. The physical target set for the first quarter has been almost achieved. Due emphasis was given for the implementation of the project within the schedule during the meeting,” a senior official said.

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