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WB requests Centre to share burden in Subarna Rekha project

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, July 4 (UNI) The West Bengal government has proposed to the Centre to include the Rs 1,000 crore Subarna Rekha Irrigation project into the Centrally sponsored Bharat Nirman scheme under 75/25 participation basis.

Irrigation and Resources Minister Subash Naskar informed the assembly today that during his recent meeting with Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz in New Delhi he had requested him to consider inclusion of at least a portion of the Subarna Rekha project under the Centrally sponsored Bharat Nirman scheme, under which at least 14,922 hectares of land could be irrigated at Rs 995 crores.

Of this the Centre should take the financial burden of 75 per cent while the rest would be borne by the state government, he said. He was replying to queries of Congress chief whip Manas Bhunia during the question hour.

Later talking to newsmen Mr Naskar clarified that under the entire Subarna Rekha project, a total of 1,28,766 hectares of land along with its course would come under river irrigation programme.

He said though the Centre had given the go-ahead signal of this multi-million rupee project in 1992, it took about four years for the state government to get environmental clearance from the Centre, while the Planning Commission had granted only about Rs 595 crores for the project, making it somewhat impossible for the state government to carry forward the project on schedule.

''Keeping this in mind, we have decided to approach the Centre to share the financial burden of this project under one of its major river irrigation scheme,'' he said.

Incidentally under the Bharat Nirman Programme, about 10 million hectares of land is scheduled to be brought under the country's largest river irrigation programme by 2009, the minister informed.

Asked about the state government's stand on the river linking programme, Mr Naskar said it had already lodged a formal protest with the Centre regarding direct linking of the Manas, Sankosh, Teesta and the Ganges rivers under the MSTG river linking programme as it was scheduled to pass through large forest areas and 22 tea gardens in North Bengal which might create a severe ecological imbalance in the area.

However, on principle the state government had no objections to the Centrally sponsored developmental projects, the state Irrigation minister reaffirmed, replying to another querry.

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