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July 29, 2014

WB Govt launches irrigation project for dry areas of Jangalmahal

The West Bengal government has sanctionedRs 500 crore to implement an irrigation project in Jangalmahal, State Ministerfor water resource investigation and development and minor irrigationdepartment, Mr Soumen Mahapatra, said.

He said irrigation water is not availablefor vast areas of Jangalmahal where cultivation was often affected due toshortage of water. “The project work will start from tomorrow. Afterimplementing the project, irrigation water will be available for vast tracts ofland in Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore and Birbhum,” he said on Monday.

Around 17 lakhs hectares of land areavailable in the Jangalmahal area for agriculture but only eight lakh hectaresof land is being cultivated with the help of irrigation water. The farmers ofthe rest of the cultivated land have to purchase water from several sources asthey do not get irrigation water, Mr Mahapatra said. “Currently with theimplementation of this project 50,000 acres will be cultivated,” he said.

The project was discussed at a meetingwhere senior officials of several departments, including panchayat, forest,irrigation and PWD, participated. Officials of the PWD department willsupervise the work on the project for Birbhum district. Irrigation Departmentand Panchayat Department will look after work in Purulia and Bankura districts,respectively and the Minor Irrigation Department will supervise work in West Midnapore.Forest Department will supervise work in four districts.

Large number of ponds will be dug up forthis purpose. A detailed project report (DPR) of Rs 375 crore has beensubmitted to the Centre and Rs 175 crore DPR is being prepared. “Rain waterharvesting project will be taken up and new canals will be dug up for thispurpose,” Mr Mahapatra said.

Junglemahal has 23 blocks spread over 8,000sq km in the district of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. Nearly 40 lakhpeople live in the zone, one of the most under-developed in the country. Lackof development has helped Maoists spread their network in the area. “Irrigationproject will help the local people strengthen the economy,” Mr Mahapatra said.