Jharkhand irrigates only 7.5 lakh hectares for Rs.3,700 cr

Ranchi, March 4 (IANS) Despite spending around Rs.3,700 crore over the years, Jharkhand has been able to irrigate only about 7.5 lakh hectares – or 24.55 percent of its cultivable land – against a national average of 40 per cent.

The Jharkhand government Thursday said Rs.3,690.543 crore have been spent on seven large-scale irrigation projects, but only 24.55 percent of the total cultivable land of 29.74 lakh hectares have been irrigated.

Seven big irrigation projects nder construction for the last 25 to 30 years are the Suvarnarekha multi-purpose project, Ajay barrage, Punasi, Amananat barrage, Konar, North Koel and Gumani barrage.

‘Many irrigation projects are pending for 25 to 30 years due to several problems, including land acquisition, forest clearance and others. Efforts are on to complete the large-scale irrigation projects by 2011,’ Water Resources Minister Chandra Prakash Chaudhary said in a written reply in the state assembly.

Opposition members said the government should explore alternative sources of irrigation to improve the percentage of irrigated land in the state.

Jharkhand produces only half the quantum of food grain it consumes.

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