Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said that special attention needs to be paid to maintenance and restoration of irrigation projects with an aim to improve irrigation potential in the state.

The chief minister, while reviewing the functioning of the state water resources department instructed officials to get the work of canal lining and irrigation projects done with MGNREGA on a large a scale.

He also instructed officials to construct water harvesting structures at appropriate sites in the rivers, along with the demarcation of the major rivers of the state, especially the Kharun, Hasdeo, Shivnath, Arpa, Maniyari rivers and to prepare an action plan for large scale plantation on both sides of the rivers.

The CM directed officials to conduct the maintenance and repair work of the stop dams and anicuts on the Kharun River on priority.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was reviewing Chief Minister said that special measures should be taken to achieve the actual irrigation potential of the irrigation projects constructed across the state. He said that to achieve maximum irrigation potential, attention should be paid towards maintenance of irrigation projects.

The Chief Minister also instructed the officers to prepare an action plan for laying dykewalls and power lines at appropriate places on both sides of the state’s Shivnath and Kharun rivers.

He said that with the availability of irrigation facilities easily to the farmers of the riverbank villages, the ground water level will improve.

The Chief Minister also gave necessary instructions to the authorities regarding the prevention of water pollution of rivers.

In the meeting, water resources minister Ravindra Choubey, chief secretary RP Mandal, additional chief secretary of the chief minister Subrata Sahoo, secretary of water resources department Avinash Champawat, deputy secretary at the chief minister’s secretariat Soumya Chaurasia and other senior officials were present.

In the last one year, due to the work done to increase the capacity of irrigation projects, more than 1.5 lakh hectare area has been irrigated in the last kharif season, said water resources minister Choubey.

He further said that farmers of the state have also benefited this year in irrigation of rabi crops and water supply has been made available for irrigation in 65,000 hectare area, which is about 37,000 hectare more in the Rabi season as compared to 28,000 hectare area last year.

From the irrigation projects included in the budget for the 2020-21, it is proposed to restore the irrigation potential in about 77,000 hectares and create new irrigation potential in 4.5 lakh hectares, the minister said.

In the meeting, secretary, department of water resources Anivash Champawat gave detailed information about the restored irrigation potential through irrigation projects in the state.

He informed that there are eight major, 37 medium, 2,401 minor irrigation schemes, 727 anicuts and 30 tube well mini irrigation schemes in the state.

The total designed irrigation potential is 19.55 lakh hectares. Presently, water supply is being provided for irrigation in 10.60 lakh hectare through these, he said, adding that the efforts being made by the department to achieve the actual potential of irrigation projects, is its top work and canal lining are proposed to be repaired prominently.

In the current financial year, the goal is to increase irrigation potential in about 2 lakh hectare area through the works of gap filling of irrigation, construction of new irrigation schemes, micro, solar micro irrigation, lift irrigation and link project and Kada drain construction, Champawat said.

During the Corona pandemic, the department has started works amounting to Rs 195 crore to give employment to the villagers in the village, he said.

In the meeting, water allocation through industrial barrages was also discussed in detail.

The meeting also reviewed the progress of major under-construction projects of the water resources department, especially Arpa Bhainsajhar, Sondhur reservoir, Bhatapara branch canal scheme, Kelo project and Samoda Nisada diversion.

It was informed at the meeting that for the purpose of drainage in villages, the goal of water logging in 5 thousand rural ponds is towards completion.