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Nonoi irrigation project on verge of death

Rs 7.55 crore already blown up, Sipajhar farmers seeking water in vain to irrigate their fields


GUWAHATI, Feb 12: Due to the previous Congress government’s callousness, lack of proper planning, rampant commission raj and use of multiple contractors for a single project, the Rs 8.81 crore Nonoi Lower Reach Irrigation Project in Darrang district’s Sipajhar LAC is on the verge of death.

The project work began way back in December 2010 for supplying water to 590 hectares of agricultural land in Sipajhar LAC. Surprisingly, 88 contractors were given responsibility of the work by the Irrigation Department under the previous government in the State.

The project is yet to become operatiol and Rs 7.55 crore has already been spent towards its implementation. Now, the situation is that the ‘dying’ project is in dire need of repair. The project was sanctioned under AIBP scheme in fincial year 2009-2010. It was undertaken to channelize water of Nonoi river through cals for agricultural use.

Interestingly, the Irrigation Department officially claims to have completed the scheme, but only two of its water discharge points — No. 2 point and No. 8 point — are presently functioning, while the remaining six water discharge points are lying defunct.

At present, the Nonoi Lower Reach Irrigation Project has developed several electrical and mechanical problems. To deal with the same, the Irrigation Department has made a proposal for maintence and repair of the project.

Talking to The Sentinel, local MLA Binondo Saikia said, “The issue has come to my notice. Despite spending huge funds, the scheme is not in functiol state. Had it been functiol, many farmers in Sipajhar LAC would have been benefited.”

At a time when the State government is putting stress on development of agriculture, the farmers in Sipajhar LAC are struggling with shortage of water to irrigate their paddy fields. The present dispensation at Dispur should take immediate steps to revive the Nonoi Lower Reach Irrigation Project.

Talking to reporters, Mauram th, a farmer of the area, said, “When the project work started, we hoped we would get water through irrigation, but the reality turned out different. The whole project is in danger of getting damaged beyond repair. If that happens, precious public money will go down the drain.”