Over Rs 60 crore Irrigation Scheme incomplete for last 12 years in Kathua

Incomplete Check Dam at Wajhoo Nallah in Kathua. -Excelsior/Pardeep
Incomplete Check Dam at Wajhoo Nallah in Kathua. -Excelsior/Pardeep

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, Sept 10: Started in year 2009, over Rs 60 crore Diversion Channel for Irrigation and Water Supply Scheme commonly known as Check Dam and Guide Bunds for water storage in Wajhoo Nallah in Khokhyal village of tehsil and district Kathua is in limbo.
According to sources, the construction work on this much talked about irrigation water supply scheme was started way back in year 2009 by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department now called Jak Shakti at an estimated cost of Rs 25.85 crore to supply irrigation water to the 3225 hectares of Agriculture land in unirrigated areas of Kathua tehsil known as Andad (interior area of Kathua district).
The construction work was alloted to M/s Ascon Contractor Pvt Ltd. As the work was going in full swing, the villagers started agitation demanding compensation of land given by them for the project forcing the construction agency to abandon the work, sources added.
The project was sanctioned under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programne (AIBP) of Government of India and State plan of J&K Government. The target was given to complete the project within a period of three years since the start of the work. But even after passage of over 12 years the project has not been completed for want of funds, sources added.
This ambitious Irrigation Project which could irrigate a vast agriculture land in the area was to promote fisheries and also become an attraction spot for tourists has been a dream for local population of interior areas of Kathua. The people are waiting eagerly for the day when this much talked about project will see the light of the day as the Government has failed to provide the funds for its completion under the revised DPR, sources said.
Terming it a multipurpose project, sources said the Check Dam besides providing irrigation water for agriculture and horticulture land, flood protection, fish farming, tourism promotion and field observations could have acted as a game changer for the farmers of the area by increasing their production if completed in a stipulated time frame. However, it is not known how many more years it will take in its completion as no headway has been made in sanctioning the additional funds as per the revised DPR, sources added.
The authorities claim that 80 percent work of the project is complete but the remaining work needs about Rs 35 crore more which will cover the compensation of land, price escalaion over the years and construction of additional works like drainage system, canal headway to supply water for irrigation purpose, maintainance of reservior, construction of reservoir protection wall which is fully damaged and gates to flow the water.
Farmers said on one hand Government of India is claiming to double their income by 2022 and on the other hand the Government is constantly delaying sanction of funds to such projects.
When contacted Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control Jammu, Himesh Manchanda told Excelsior that work was abandoned earlier due to agitation of the people demanding compensation for land.
He said after the constructing agency abandoned the work, the part of remaining work was put to fresh tenders and allotted to Sohan Singh. He said due to site selection issues the work of left abutment was damaged by Kathua Khad.
The work was again retendered and same was executed which includes laying of deck slab of main body of Check Dam, approach road, side walls, walls between piers, bridge railing and glacis portion of the Check Dam in the year 2018-19. He said uptodate expenditure on the works is Rs 2007.32 alkhs, under Centre share and 258.52 lakhs, under State Share.The total expenditure incurred so far is Rs 2585.15 lakhs, he added.
Himesh Manchanda said a revised DPR for Check Dam amounting to Rs 6370.24 lakhs has been submitted to the Central Water Commission (CWC) in Feburary last year for approval and the work will be resumed soon after sanction of funds.