Failed study set to flop billion rupee irrigation project
SURKHET, July 25: A failed feasibility study conducted four years ago to irrigate 1,700 hectares of land in Surkhet valley in mid west Nepal is set to bring the Rs. one billion irrigation project to a closure, raising doubts over the government´s implementation of a development project.
The feasibility study failed to gauge the water level in Jhuprekhola and Khaharekhola rivers which is now gradually decreasing. This has affected the proper implementation of the project aimed to provide relief to the locals.
The project was recommended on the basis of a feasibility study conducted four years ago and Rs three million has already been spent so far.
The flow of water in these rivers needed to be 4,000 liters per second to develop the project but is only 500 liters per second, according to Khem Bahadur Pathak, senior divisional engineer at the Midwestern Regional Irrigation Directorate. "This is really a big challenge for the project," he said.
Pathak also informed that the directorate had sent a report regarding the matter but the Irrigation Department in Kathmandu is yet to respond.
“Due to the decreasing water levels in Jhuprekhola and Khaharekhola, the project is least likely to bear fruit," Pathak further said. "We have sent a detailed report to the department but have not received any reply so far.”
The government has released Rs. 9.5 million in the last four years to make the project work and Rs three million has already been spent.
The irrigation engineers, however, are baffled at the goings on at the Irrigation Department, as it continues to release budgets for the project without considering the new developments.
“Last year, a budget was needed for demarcation and canal digging," Pathak said, adding, "This year, there is no work in the pipeline but the Department is still sending money in the project´s name."
The total estimate of the project is Rs one billion with the amount expected to be spent on building the 19-kilometer canel along the two rivers.
The project could have provided a much-needed respite to the locals here but they are now losing hopes due to the government´s apathy.
“Had they done the work on time, the project would have materialized by now," said Dambar GC, chairman of the local committee formed to look after the irrigation project. “Earlier, they came for follow-up studies, but recently there has been no further development.”