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Rukuna minor irrigation project in Angul remains under construction for 30 years

19/01/2022 at 6:41 PM

Angul, Jan 19: Rukuna minor irrigation project at Khinda village under Angul block, which was founded 30 years ago, is yet to be completed.

More than 30 percent of the project work is so far to be executed, to address the drought situation in its catchment, despite the second time funding of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik had proposed the Rukuna minor irrigation Project(MIP) at Khinda village over Rukuna river, a perennial stream of water which comes from the Raigoda mountain range. 

Analysing the continuous drought situation in and around Khinda, Bantala, Bedasasan and Basala gram panchayat, Rural Development Department Minister Ramakrishna Pattnaik and Minister for Forest & Environment Department Adwaita Prashad Singh laid the foundation stone of the MIP, soon after the declaration.

However, the project work stopped at the initial state.The Rural Development Department partly repaired the old soil embankment and put a few hum-pipes at the canal outlet.

Discontented over it, farmers of the locality staged a series of roadblocks, plough movements and called for boycotting the general election in order to complete the project.

      Meanwhile, the NABARD sanctioned Rs 1.76 crore for it under Rural Infrastructure Develop Fund (RIDF). Whereas,the department did not utilize the fund for years together.

As the department lingered the project, farmers’ bodies in the aegis of Rukuna Working Committee and Angul Zilla Krushak Samaj went on hunger strike before the Assembly during the Monsoon session in 2011.

Acting on it, State Water Resources Department revised the project cost in 2012 and put it up with the NABARD with new Detail Project Report (DPR). NABARD authorities sanctioned the revised project cost and   urged the state government to complete it before March 2020.

However, the check dam has only been constructed so far. Whereas, the head-switches and the sluices could not be mounted during a year. 

As a result, about 13 thousand traditional farmers lost paddy and other crops in the last agriculture season, waiting the completion of the project by 2021.

Now, thousand acres of paddy land have gone barren for long. On the other hand, most of the well to do farmers are working as daily wagers in the nearby industries after losing their prime livelihood, longingly waiting for the completion of the project.

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