Centre to revive ambitious North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand

Seeking to provide irrigation facilities to over one lakh hectare of farm land in Daltonganj and Palamu region of Jharkhand and neighbouring districts of Bihar, the Centre has decided to revive its 45-year-old North Koel river irrigation project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,622 crore and begin the construction of remaining works soon.

Once completed, the project will provide irrigation facilities to over one lakh hectare (30,000 hectares in Jharkhand and over 70,000 hectares in Bihar) of farm land and deal with the issue of drinking water problem in the entire region of the two states. After being conceived in 1972, its construction works started in 1975.

Though 90% of its works, costing nearly Rs 800 crore, was completed by 2007, the work was stopped in the wake of pending clearances from the environment ministry over the issue of submergence of forest areas including a part of the Palamu tiger reserve.

"In order to deal with the issue of submergence, it is now proposed to reduce the height of of its main dam by 26 meters. This decision will take care of its clearance issue," said an official of the water resources ministry which has been asked by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to revive the project at the earliest.
The PMO is learnt to have already held four meetings on the issue. A detailed presentation on the plan to revive the project was made to the Union water resources minister Uma Bharti on Thursday.

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