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Centre to revive ambitious North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand

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Union Govt. has decided to revive its 45-year-old North Koel river irrigation project with an objective to provide irrigation facilities to over one lakh hectare of farm land in Jharkhand, specifically in Daltonganj and Palamu region along with neighbouring districts of Bihar. The pending work on this project will be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,622 crore.

About North Koel River Irrigation Project:

North Koel River Irrigation Project is being built at Mandal village in Latehar district of Jharkhand.

  • The project was conceived in year 1972 and the construction work started in 1975. A dam at Mandal, a barrage downstream (96 km) and network of distribution channels from two main canals are the three main components of this project.
  • The construction work stopped in 2007 due to pending clearances from Environment Ministry. Till then, 90% of the work was completed at the cost of Rs. 800 crore.

Reason for pending clearances and proposed solution:

This project will cause submergence of considerable forest area including 4250 hectares of Palamu Tiger Reserve’s core area. Official in the Water Resources Ministry has said that a reduction in height of main dam by 26 meters has been proposed, which will reduce submergence and thereby enable clearance.

  • The Prime Minister’s Office is keen on reviving this project at the earliest and has instructed the Water Resources Ministry to take quick action in this direction.

Expected Benefits post completion of North Koel Irrigation Project:

This project was conceived with an objective for providing relief to water starved Daltonganj and Palamu regions of Jharkhand which have faced 10 major famines since year 1935.

  • On completion, the project will provide irrigation facilities to over 30,000 hectares farm Centre to revive ambitious North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhandland in Jharkhand and over 70,000 hectares farm land in Bihar.
  • The project will solve the drinking water problem in entire region.
  • Water will also be available for industrial purpose.
  • Project’s capacity to generate 24 MW of electricity will prove to be an additional benefit.

Union Water Resources Minister Ms. Uma Bharti has mentioned that 60% of the cost for pending work will be borne by the centre, whereas 40% cost will be split between Jharkhand and Bihar.