Speaker asks govt to make statement on Suktel project

Bhubaneswar: Odisha assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on Thursday directed the state government to make a statement on the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project in Bolangir district which could not be completed even after 11 years.

The issue was raised in the assembly with opposition Congress and BJP MLAs drawing attention of the Chair seeking its direction to the government. Two Congress MLAs- S S Saluja and S S Bhoi- sat on dharna in well of the House protesting non-implementation of the project.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnik laid foundation of the project on November 24, 2001. "The state government has no sincerity towards the people of Bolangir," alleged BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo.

The BJP leader`s allegation was countered by his uncle and BJD leader A U Singhdeo who urged all not to politicise the matter. "No one should take advantage from the situation. The government is trying its best to start work," he said.

Meanwhile, seven members of Lower Suktel Action Committee (LSAC) have started hunger strike agitation demanding immediate implementation of the project. "Our agitation has got support from 27 organisations including political parties," said LSAC leader Arun Kumar Sahu.

The project cost which was only Rs 217.13 crore and targeted to be completed by 2004, had meanwhile escalated to Rs 1100 crore, he said.
The project after completion would irrigate 31,830 hectare of agricultural land benefiting Bolangir and Sonepur districts of the state, he said.