A view of the under-construction Rohini Irrigation Project. Photo: Republica
BHAIRAHAWA, Nov 18: The work of Rohini Irrigation Project, which is under construction at Rohini River lying between Devdaha Municipality-2 and Tilottama Municipality- 10 in Rupandehi district, is not picking up the expected pace.
Lumbini Arghakhanchi Babul JV, which was awarded the contract to complete construction works in three years, indicates that the works will not be completed within the given timeframe. The company had started work on November 29, 2017.
The contract for construction works for the multipurpose irrigation project was signed in two phases, including head box and canal. Only 60% progress has been recorded so far.
Upon completion, the project with model water storage is expected to irrigate hundreds of hectares of land. Presence of jungle in the canal site, lack of collaboration from the government's collaboration, and budget deficiency are some of the reasons blamed for the sluggish pace of works at the project.
"We are determined to finish the works by resolving all these problems," said Pramod Pandey, site in-charge of the project.
Tanka KC, project head, said the project with an objective of irrigating more than 4,000 hectares of land has achieved over 60% progress in the construction of head box with an investment of Rs 284 million. Construction of only 600 meters of canal is left that is being constructed with an investment of Rs 80 million, he added.
The project that is being constructed with an investment from the provincial government has already spent Rs 236 million. It has been allocated additional fund of Rs 24.5 million for this fiscal year. KC further said: "The budget is insufficient for the completion of the project, because of which we have asked for additional funds."
The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is being carried out again with the target to complete the project by mid-July, 2020. "The target is to complete the project on time, but the lack of budget and presence of jungle in the middle have added challenges for us. We are working to resolve these problems, in collaboration with the stakeholders," KC told Republica.
The project aims at irrigating farmers' lands in Devdaha Municipality, Tilottama Municipality, Omsatiya Rural Municipality and Rohini Rural Municipality. Besides relieving farmers from their dependence on monsoon rains for farming, it is expected to contribute to the tourism sector as well.
"Besides irrigation, the project is expected to promote tourism by operating boats on the 3,600-meter-wide water reservoir that will be built as part of the project," said Hira Bahadur Khatri, chief of Devdaha Municipality. The municipality is also planning to build supportive infrastructure for tourists. “Both Devdaha and Tilottama municipalities are related to Gautam Buddha. By building Buddhist structures here, religious tourists can be attracted to the area,” Khatri said, adding: “The Devdaha Municipality has allocated budget for these works.”