Sikta Irrigation Project starts releasing water through its western and eastern canals to irrigate paddy fields

Published On: July 1, 2020 10:30 AM NPT By: Arjun Oli

NEPALGUNJ, July 1 : One of the national pride projects, Sikta Irrigation Project, has started releasing water to its western and eastern canals. 

Project Director Lok Bahadur Thapa said local farmers are provided with irrigation facilities through its western main canal up to Jethi Nala and Rajkulo in the eastern can in view of the paddy plantation season. “Water has been released in some places since mid-April,” said Thapa. Water was also released from a few other other sections and subsections of the canal in early June.

According to Thapa, some 16,000 hectares of land will be irrigated by Sikta water by the end of this year. Sikta Irrigation Project plans to irrigate a total of 42,000 hectares of land upon its completion. 

While 33,000 hectares will be irrigated by the western canal, some 9,000 hectares will be irrigated by the eastern canal. Currently, water has been supplied to the farmers’ fields in the west via Sidhaniya and Duduwa sections and Jethi Nala.

Of the total capacity of 50 cumecs, only two to three cumecs of water has been released from the western main canal. The volume of water can be increased as necessary, according to the engineers involved in the construction of the canals.

Similarly, water from the Rapti River has been supplied to the fields from Rajkulo through the eastern canal of the project. “Farmers were able to sow paddy seeds in the seed beds on time due to availability of water from the project,” said Director Thapa.

Western main canal had collapsed twice earlier during the test along the Jhijhari River in Dhakeri and later again in the nearby Changai Nala. Amid concerns of massive irregularities in the construction works, parliamentary committees, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Department of Irrigation and experts from home and abroad had also launched separate investigations into it. 

After a long probe, a case was filed against the then contractor, staff and consultants of the project at the Special Court, claiming that Rs 8.5 billion was misappropriated. The court is yet to pass a final verdict on the case.

The government had launched this project back in 2032 BS. However, the project could not be expedited due to alleged objections from Indian side. 

The project was initiated later again in 2005 after construction of headworkers in Agaiya of Banke. The inordinate delay of the project has hit local farmers hard as they are deprived of irrigation facilities. The project is estimated to cost over Rs 30 billion.  A total of Rs 16 billion has been spent so far in the project. 

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