No progress on Gosikhurd RBC work in last 36 months

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Apr 2018 09:36:54


By Rajendra Diwe,

Bhoomipujan of Gosikhurd project was performed 30 years ago, but after spending thousands of crores, it remains a telling monument of injustice meted out to Vidarbha region and became a classic example of irregularities, siphoning of funds, corruption, twisting of norms, monumental inefficiency and now policy paralysis. Though funds are now available, political will is manifest, but officials are reluctant to carry out the work, as a result, no progress could be made to complete the Right Bank Canal. During physical audit conducted by various voluntary organisations on Sunday- second such audit after 34 months-precious little has changed. Tall claims, official whitewash, shoddy works, missing lining, elusive canal walls, incomplete gates- once again revealed the shocking indifference of official machinery.

Only new set of officials have been posted to reiterate the same narrative to visiting members of Vidarbha Sinchan Shodh Yatra organised by Loknayak Bapuji Aney Smarak Samiti, Jan Manch, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED).
The Right Bank Canal (RBC) which has shown the dream to farmers of 108 villages in Bhandara and Chandrapur districts to bring 39,409 hectares of land under irrigation, seems ‘hollow’ after second visit to the site.

Officials have claimed the work of RBC upto 98.89 kms has been completed, but in reality the canal is partially filled with water upto only first 30 kms. There are no sub canals, branch canals and distributaries providing water to the lands of farmers in this region beyond 30 kms. From 30 kms to 55 kms, the wall of RBC on one side has been built and surprisingly there is no wall on other side. Apparently, the VIDC officials had no cogent explanation for such sub-standard and incomplete works and this made the activists charge them with having unholy nexus with contractors and buckling under political pressure. The sub canals, branch canals and distributaries are only on paper, alleged Adv Govind Bhendarkar, convenor of Gosikhurd Prakalp Sangharsha Samiti.

Superintending Engineer, G.M Sheikh said, “The total irrigation potential of Gosikhurd Project is 2.5 lakh hectares out of which irrigation potential of 71,810 hectares is being created on Right Bank Canal. The contribution of RBC is 36 thousand hectares and that of Ghodazari Branch canal is 35 thousand hectares. The water has been carried upto 155 kms through RBC and actual irrigation potential achieved is 15,000 hectares. The project work worth Rs 1000 crores of RBC is still pending.”

Adv Govind Bhendarkar claimed that despite the land acquired by VIDC from the farmers in Nagbhid tehsil, not a single acre land is not irrigated in the tehsil.
Executive Engineer, Roshan Hatwar gave technical reasons for non competition of work of RBC at 33 kms, 45 kms, 53 kms, 56 kms etc. “The work is in progress, not stalled but contractors are not completing the same,” he added.

Jan Manch President Sharad Patil stated that the team of members of Sinchan Shodh Yatra has been very disappointed with the snail pace of work of RBC over last three years. RBC has water up to 30 kms,but beyond the same there is no sign of progress. If the situation continues, Jan Manch will knock the doors of High court, he added. Devendra Parekh expressed his surprise over non completion of distribution network simultaneously with RBC. The members participated in the Sinchan Shodh Yatra included, Pralhad Kharasne, Adv Radke, Adv Avinash Kale, Dr Amitabh Pawade, Navin Marlewar, Uttam Sulke, Nana Akhare, Ajay Bondre, Ramrao Ghonge, Dilip Thakre and others.

What VIDC officials claimed?
Right Bank Canal (Main Canal): 98 percent work complete
Branch canals: 50 percent work complete
Total Irrigation Potential (Project): 71810 hectares
Irrigation Potential Created Till June 2017: 13926 hectares
Remaining Irrigation Potential: 57,884 hectares

Right Bank Canal:
Total Cost: Rs 4937.99 cr
Expenditure Till March 2017: 2951.66 cr
Remaining Cost: 1986.33 cr
Financial Planning 2017-18: Rs 496 cr;
2018-19: Rs 638 cr; 2019-2020: 851.43 cr

Beneficiary Villages: 17 villages in Paoni tehsil of Bhandara District (1657 hectares); 91 villages in Brahmapuri and Saoli tehsil of Chandrapur district (37,752 hectares). Total length 98.89 kms and extended upto 150 kms. Irrigation potential 15,000 hectares and actual land under irrigation according to officials is 7210 hectares.