Rengali south irrigation project has left 4 districts high & dry!

Bhubaneswar: It has been over 20 years that the people of at least four districts of Odisha have been waiting for the completion of Rengali Right (south) Irrigation Project. With promises that once completed it will resolve the irrigation woes in the region, the project has left the farmers high and dry.

“We have been getting assurances for the last five years that water will flow through our village, but we are yet to see even a drop of water,” lamented a farmer of Athagarh who still hopes that a day will come when he gets to see water flowing through the canal.

“I used to tell people that I might die without seeing the canal and seems it will happen now as the canal that has not been built in 40 years, can’t be completed in a couple of years,” quipped a 76-year-old farmer.

In 1998, the government had announced the Rengali south canal in Angul district with an initial budget of Rs 738.27 crore. The canal was to start from Samal Barrage and flow through Angul, Dhenkanal, Cuttack and Jajpur districts and irrigate 84,407 hectare land.

However, only 17,606 hectares have been irrigated in these 20 years.

Meanwhile, Chief Construction Engineer of the project, Jugal Tripathy said that land acquisition is a big hindrance for the project.

“The construction of the canal is on. 95 km of construction of the main canal has been done and by 2022-23, we hope to complete the entire 261 kms,” said Tripathy, adding that land acquisition issues are delaying the project.

On the contrary, there are reports that at several parcels of land acquired for the canal have been handed over for industrial use.

Though OTV sought a reply from IDCO officials, they refused to comment on the allegations.