Print Edition - 2018-02-25 | MONEY
Province 2 demands construction of Sunkoshi-Kamala Diversion Project
Feb 25, 2018-
Locals of Province 2 have once again called on the government to expedite construction of Sunkoshi-Kamala Diversion Project so that water diverted from Sunkoshi River to Kamala River could be used to irrigate additional plots of land. Early completion of the project, locals said, would provide year-round irrigation facility in Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha and Mahottari districts.
The water, according to experts, could be diverted to Kamala River through a 22-km tunnel via Khurkot and Katari. If the water is diverted, Kamala Irrigation Project, which is currently providing irrigation facility in Siraha and Dhanusha districts, could be used to irrigate agricultural land in Saptari and Mahottari districts as well.
Kamala Irrigation Project was inaugurated in 1962 by then Irrigation Minister Ganesh Man Singh. Since then, the project has been providing irrigation facility in 25,000 hectares of land in western Siraha and eastern Dhanusha during summer. In winter, the irrigation project provides water to about 8,500 hectares of agricultural land in western Siraha and eastern Dhanusha.
If the diversion project is built, year-round irrigation facility could be provided in western Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha and Mahottari, according to farmers.
“The main purpose of building Kamala [irrigation project] in 1962 was to divert water from Sunkoshi River to Kamala River and irrigate surrounding arable lands. I will try to convince heads and chairpersons of municipalities and rural municipalities in Siraha and Dhanusha to work on this dream project,” Jageshwor Yadav, head of Bishnupur rural municipality, said.
Concerned authorities have already conducted a preliminary study to build Sunkoshi-Kamala Diversion Project and divert water from Sunkoshi River to Kamala River. The water could be diverted if a small weir is built across Sunkoshi River, according to Gautam Thakur, division engineer of Hardinath Irrigation Management Division Office. “Then a 22km tunnel needs to be built from Khurkot to Katari. The water from Sunkoshi River could be released in Tawa Khola,” Thakur said.
The government has so far built infrastructure to irrigate 1.39 million hectares of land across Nepal, according to the Economy Survey of the Ministry of Finance. The portion of arable land with access to irrigation facility accounts for about 53 percent of the total 2.64 million hectares of arable land.
However, only 40 percent of the total arable land in the country has access to year-round irrigation facility. This is because of failure to divert water from rivers and operate storage-type multipurpose projects, the Economic Survey says.
Studies have shown that irrigation facility could be extended to around 1.77 million hectares of arable land in Nepal.
Published: 25-02-2018 08:25