Sikta Irrigation Project sees 70 percent work progress in 17 years

Published On: March 18, 2022 12:58 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 18: The government has spent over Rs 18 billion on the development of the Sikta Irrigation Project in the past 17 years. The main canal of the project has been extended to 45 km west of Banke.

However, the constructed canal has not been able to carry the amount of water as per its capacity. Although the canal was said to be able to control the flow of 50 cusecs of water, the canal crumbled in the course of a test while running at half the capacity. The canal can only be used at half capacity due to the defect in the canal’s structure. 

The weak structure of the canal has caused it to break down multiple times. The canal had also broken down during a test with 25 cusec of water flow on June 28, 2018. According to Director Santosh Kaini of Sikta Irrigation Project, the canal is being used with just 8-10 cusecs of water flow despite it being constructed to withstand a water flow of 50 cusecs. “The project is not complete at the moment. We are only releasing 8-10 cusecs of water as per the need at the moment.

According to the project officials, 70 percent of the construction work has been completed so far. The government had introduced the Sikta Irrigation Project in the year 2004/2005 with a goal to provide irrigation to 33,766 hectares of farmland west of Banke and to over 9,000 hectares of farmland in the east of Rapti. The revised estimated cost of the projects was Rs 25.2 billion and was said to be completed in a decade by 2015. However, the project could not be completed in time due to the delay in construction and irregularity by the contractor company 

After the project was not completed on time, the deadline for the completion of the project was extended till 2019. In 2022, the project still has 30 percent of construction left. A corruption case has been filed against the project’s officials. The project itself has received a bad name due to delays and irregularities in its construction. 

Irrigation from the project started last April after the completion of the headworks and the gate of the project’s dam, 45 Km long main western canal and the Sindhaniya branch. Irrigation is currently being provided to 16,000 hectares of farmland. 

Project Director Kaini said that the western branch canal and the eastern canal are being constructed at the moment. He said that the main canal was being cleaned and maintained. The government aims to complete the project within the next four years.


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