KATHMANDU, August 17: Flooding has severely damaged 135 major irrigation projects in the country. The damaged irrigation projects include 15 major irrigation systems such as the Bagmati Irrigation Project, Narayani Irrigation System and Nepal Gandak West Canal, according to preliminary estimates made by the Ministry of Irrigation.
Minister for Irrigation Sanjay Kumar Gautam presented the damage data to parliament's Agriculture and Water Resources Committee on Wednesday. The ministry's preliminary damage assessment said that the loss amounts to Rs 2.42 billion.
Koshi Pump Irrigation Project in Saptari has seen the most damage as its pump house has become submerged. The damage there is estimated at Rs 900 million while the damage to Sunsari Morang Irrigation Project in Morang is put at Rs 706 million.
Rani Jamara Kulariya Project in Kailali and Saptari-based Chandra Nahar Irrigation Project have each seen damage worth Rs 150 million. At Rani Jamara Kulariya, the permanent embankment of the Karnali River has been damaged while at Chandra Nahar the damage has been to the main canal..
Likewise, Kamala Irrigation Project in Dhanusha has seen damage to the main canal as well as both the western and eastern branch canals. The preliminary assessment of the damage is Rs 120 million.
Minister Gautam said that his ministry has only Rs 230 million for the maintenance of the projects including repair work after water-induced disaster. The ministry has deputed officials in the field to take detailed stock of the damage.
The ministry has also prepared a preliminary damage assessment for river embankments. The more severe damage is at 54 different rivers and streams in the flood-affected districts. Likewise, the damage to standing paddy, vegetables and fish cultivation is estimated at Rs 3.64 billion across the terai including Kailali, Nawalparasi, Banke and Bardiya, according to the data presented by the Ministry of Agricultural Development to the parliamentary committee.
Following the discussion focused on flood damage, the committee directed the Irrigation Ministry, Ministry of Agriculture and other line ministries to take an integrated approaches while rehabilitating the irrigation projects.
Lawmakers at the meeting stressed the setting up of a separate entity like the National Reconstruction Authority for the integrated reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructures damaged by flooding.