Less than one-fifth irrigation projects fully functiol, rampant commission raj in Irrigation department
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, February 22: For irrigation development, the Centre releases funds to the tune of crores of rupees to the Assam government. But irrigation remains a joke in primarily agrarian Assam, while commission raj continues to be rampant in the Irrigation department.
Given the dismal irrigation scerio in the State, questions are now being raised about the need for the very existence of this department.
Sources said that of the 1,311 completed irrigation projects in the State, only 244, which means 18.6 per cent are fully functiol. The data available show that 659 projects are partially functiol, 230 projects need immediate repair and 178 projects are degraded beyond repair.
In lower Assam’s Dhubri district, a place with great agri-potential where most of the people are engaged in agriculture, there is not a single irrigation project which is fully functiol. Similarly, in fertile lbari and Barak valley’s Karimganj district, there is not a single irrigation project which is fully operatiol.
Of the178 irreparable irrigation projects, Kokrajhar has 18, Lakhimpur 13, Dibrugarh 12, Sonitpur 11, gaon 10 and Golaghat 10 such projects.
Sources said that no stress has been given to irrigation works on the ground by the Tarun Gogoi government since it came to power in 2001, despite the Irrigation department figuring highly in Dispur’s scheme of things. “Before Chandan Sarkar took charge as the State Irrigation minister recently, Ardhendu Dey headed the department. But during Dey’s tenure, the performance of the Irrigation department touched rock bottom. Other earlier Irrigation ministers also failed miserably in developing the irrigation infrastructure of the State,” sources added.
Sources further alleged that while there is no work culture in the Irrigation department, a thriving commission raj holds complete sway there.
Recently State Irrigation minister Chandan Sarkar claimed that he should be judged by his work and not by his qualifications. But given his dubious credentials, it needs be watched what he can do for the development of this sector.