Himachal CM Commissions Rs 88 Cr Changer Irrigation Scheme

Bilaspur: Providing an additional 2350 hectares of land with assured irrigation, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Sunday commissioned the Rs 88 crore Changer lift irrigation scheme.

After inaugurating the scheme, speaking at a public function at Dabat village, the chief minister said that the government had given high priority to agriculture and was intent upon improving productivity increasing the area under irrigation.

Thanking Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal for timely implementation of the agreement between the two governments for setting up the Changer Mid Lift Irrigation Scheme, Dhumal said that with water made available for 2350 hectares of land in 28 villages, it would check migration from the otherwise water deficient area.

Besides the irrigation scheme, he said that to conserve run-off water, 62 soil dams involving a cost of Rs 1.62 crore had been constructed in Changar area.

Irrigation and public health (IPH) minister Ravinder Ravi, who among others spoke at the function said that the IPH department was spending Rs 1600 crore in the current financial year on different schemes.

For completion of the Shah Nehar Rs 385 crore had been earmarked, he said, the Siddha Medium Irrigation and Balh Valley Left Bank Irrigation schemes were under implementation and a Rs 204.5 crore Finna Singh Irrigation scheme had been envisaged for the Nurpur area of Kangra district, said Ravi.

Water drawn out of Anadpur Sahib hydel channel has been lifted by Changer lift irrigation scheme and distributed through 6 rising main pipelines. The scheme is expected to double cropping in an otherwise arid region of Naina Devi tehsil in Bilaspur district.

The project was envisaged in 1999 by the Dhumal government in its previous term. With the region only getting 9.37 cms of annual rainfall, the irrigation facility projects to double cropping in the irrigated areas.

Of the 55.67 lakh hectares of hilly terrain geographical area, Himachal has the potential of bring about only 50 thousand hectares under major irrigation schemes. An additional 2.85 lakh hectares are covered under minor irrigation schemes.

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1 Comment

  1. says: Devinder K. Sharma

    Medium Irrigation projects are expensive hardware for irrigation. Himachal has limited potential in this field and its exploitation should not only be cost effective but also lead to crop diversification. Past experience for Balh and Bhabaur Sahib projects has shown that there has been precious little movement in that direction with the result that the capacity utilisation is abysmally low. There is little coordination between the users, IPH department and the Agriculture department to maximize the gains. The per hectare cost of CCA creation is close to Rs. 4 lakh in this case whereas for the prestigious Shahnehar project, it would, at current cost estimates, come to Rs. 2.5 lakh per hectare. The O & M costs for these projects are high due to high establishment costs and commercial rates of energy for pumping water, and unless the extension agencies come on board to enhance per unit output significantly, these projects lose their meaning. The user charges not even cover 5 per cent of the O & M costs and even these very low water rates are rarely collected leading to piling up of revenue arrears due to the State Government. Minor irrigation projects are a better answer any day for hilly and mountainous areas and also have better capacity utilization due to the interest of the user groups. Even the funding of these projects by the external bilateral/multilateral financing agencies or the banks or the central government envisage some semblance of cost recovery.

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