In a bid to improve irrigation services for the farmers, the Punjab government has chalked out a detailed plan for realigning of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeder canals. The initiative is part of government’s plans of giving a fillip to the reforms for improving the irrigation system in the agrarian state of Punjab. Under the initiative 196 kilometer long canals of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeder would be realigned or maintained. To be completed in four years, the project would cost about Rs. 1979 crore to the state exchequer.
Punjab and Rajasthan have earlier in December 2014, signed an agreement to jointly monitor the progress of a project related to relining of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeder canals. The objective was to ensure its timely completion.
In fact, Rajasthan has been raising the issue of relining of Rajasthan Feeder (RF) and Sirhind Feeder (SF), which carry water from Harike headworks in Punjab to Rajasthan. And the agreement aimed at clearing it.
According to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal the process of relining of the canals has already been initiated for which tenders have been floated.
In fact a cross regulator was also constructed on the tail of Sirhind feeder to stop its back flow, which would meet the long pending demand of Rajasthan government to check back flow of the feeder.
Punjab, Rajasthan jointly cleaning feeder
The cleaning work of the Sirhind Feeder canal has already begun. The decision was taken following a meeting of Rajasthan Irrigation Minister Dr Ram Pratap Sahu with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on December 29, 2015.
The Sirhind canal which was constructed in 1954, is 136.50 km long and has an authorised capacity of 5,264 cusecs. It has a cultivable command area of 3.6 lakh hectares.
Relining of the Rajasthan Feeder and Sirhind Feeder is expected to go a long way in providing water to the farmers of two states without any wastage due to seepage, which had caused water logging in the south west districts of Punjab. Besides with relining of these canals the menace of water logging would also end and mitigated the enormous hardships faced by the farmers particularly on the bordering villages of Rajasthan and Punjab.
Canals a top priority for Punjab government
Already Punjab government has spent Rs. 1293.88 crore on maintenance and repair of 160 canals between years 2007 to 2015. These canals are now benefitting farmers of more than 1574 villages by providing them irrigation facilities. Also Nara Dam and Thana Dam have been constructed in Kandi area at a cost of Rs. 136.66 crore. These two dams are now providing irrigation facilities to 12 villages in more than 1520 hectare area.
Officials in the irrigation department inform that under state specific scheme and one time additional central assistance (ACA) a sum of Rs. 370 crore has been spent on construction and renewal of canal system between years 2013 to 2015, which would benefit area of around 21000 hectare. Besides, the state government has also imposed a water cess @ Rs. 50 per acre per crop from November, 2014 by waiving off abiana at Rs. 75 per acre for canal water. The move is expected to raise coffers by about Rs. 55 crore every year.