PATNA: Farmers in the districts concerned of Bihar, Nepal and Uttar Pradesh would have to make their own arrangements for irrigating their arable land during the Rabi season as Bihar water resources department (WRD) would not release water through the west and east Gandak canal networks for four months, beginning December.
The decision has been taken since the first phase of the Gandak Project renovation work has to be completed by March 31 next year. The Central Water Commission (CWC) had approved the project involving overall expenditure of Rs 856.62 crore. Incidentally, a similar exercise has also been ordered with regard to eastern Kosi canal system owing to the fact that its modernisation, extension and renovation (MER) has also to be completed by March 31 next.
The WRD decision would affect farmers of seven districts in Bihar - Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, East Champaran, West Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan and Saran (Chhapra) - over and above the districts concerned in Nepal and Uttar Pradesh. "After the completion of the first phase of the Gandak Project, the work related to its second phase would start," said a WRD source.
The first phase of the Gandak Project renovation work includes the execution of the Nepal Benefit Scheme ( NBS) worth Rs 171.84 crore, as well as civil and mechanical works related to Gandak barrage and renovation of east Gandak canal network (EGCN) with the combined expenditure of Rs 684.78 crore. Under the second phase of the Gandak Project, the west Gandak canal network would be renovated at overall expenditure of around Rs 2,200 crore to start with and the process regarding work allotment has already begun, WRD sources said.
While the renovation of EGCN covers work on 241km of its main canal and other chunk of its distribution network in Bihar, 197km of the main canal of west Gandak canal network covers 19km in Nepal, 112km in Uttar Pradesh and 66km in Bihar.
The work regarding MER of 241km EGCN, along with the construction of civil works and modernisation of mechanical system at Gandak barrage started in 2010, while the implementation of Nepal Benefit Scheme, under which the renovation of main canal in Nepal was taken up, began next year and would now be completed by March 31 next. Similarly, the second phase of the Gandak Project would be completed over a period of three years, from 2013 to 2016.