* Of 1,336 completed irrigation schemes, only 242 are functiol
* 95 irrigation schemes now beyond repair
* 205 schemes yet to be repaired due to shortage of fund
* Many irrigation schemes now lying defunct due to non-availability of electricity
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 25: The opposition MLAs in the Assembly on Wednesday rapped the Irrigation Department on its utter failure to improve the irrigation system in Assam, an agrarian State, over the years, despite spending crores of rupees.
Agreeing to the views of the opposition members, newly inducted Irrigation Minister Chandan Sarkar said, “In 1974, the Dhansiri Irrigation Project was undertaken by the department with an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore but the project is yet to be completed. Already Rs 380 crore has been spent for the project and another Rs 185 crore is needed to complete it.”
Raising the issue during a cut motion on the Irrigation Department, AGP MLA Keshav Mahanta said, “Several junior level officers, who were engaged in the Dhansiri Irrigation Project started way back in 1974, have promoted to higher positions, the project was revised several times since its execution, estimated cost of the project has increased manifold and 40 years have passed since the project was first undertaken by the department concerned but it has not yet been completed. It also reflects the actual state of affairs in the Irrigation Department.”
The AGP MLA alleged that corruption and commission raj are rampant in the department and it has affected the functioning of the Irrigation Department as well as its image to a great extent.
Similarly, the Bordikrai Irrigation Project in Sonitpur district is yet to be completed due to the neglect of the department concerned.
Of the 1,336 completed irrigation schemes, only 242 schemes are currently in functiol state. “95 irrigation schemes in the State are now beyond repair and 205 schemes, although repairable, are yet to be repaired by the department due to shortage of fund. Many irrigation schemes across the State are now lying defunct due to non-availability of electricity.”
AGP MLA Mukunda Chowdhury, AIUDF MLAs Mujibur Rehman and Gulakhtara Begum, BPF MLA Rakeswar Brahma and Congress MLA Debobrat Saikia also spoke on the occasion.
The Irrigation Minister also admitted on the floor of the House that he is yet to find the actual problems dogging the very department. Sarkar even evaded some questions asked by the MLAs in the Assembly. “I am not convinced by the replies prepared by the officers of the department. How can I give proper replies to the questions asked by the MLAs?”