Balangir: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has inaugurated the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project, recognized as the lifeline of the drought-prone Balangir district.
This significant project, constructed at a cost of Rs 2723 crore, aims to bolster the agricultural sector by providing water to 1 lakh acres of land in Balangir.
Apart from irrigation, the project will also provide drinking water facilities in the area to over 70,000 people. In addition, other projects worth Rs 2,525 crore were announced for the district in various sectors. Foundation stone was laid for 112 projects worth Rs 2,220 crore apart from launching of 69 projects worth Rs 305 crore.
During the ceremony, Chief Minister Patnaik extended New Year wishes to everyone and, in the Sambalpuri language, expressed his delight in commencing his first district visit of the year to Balangir. He emphasized the transformative impact of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project on the region, highlighting its potential to enhance agricultural activities.
The Chief Minister acknowledged the sacrifices made by the residents of 29 villages affected by the project and assured that their contributions would be ever remembered for the development of Balangir. Patnaik underscored the accelerated pace of developmental work in the state, citing an increase in irrigation facilities covering 3.64 lakh acres of land.
Furthermore, he detailed ongoing projects in the district aimed at improving health infrastructure, tourism, culture, and education. Patnaik noted the government’s commitment to respecting the wishes of the people, emphasizing the collaborative efforts that would lead to Balangir carving out a distinct identity in Odisha’s development.
Despite the delays and increased project costs due to displacement-related protests subsequently after the foundation stone was laid on November 24, 2001, the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project has seen progress. Key components such as the reservoir and spillway have been completed, and efforts are underway to construct the canal, pipelines, and pump house.
The project, with a 177-meter spillway, 1410-meter earthen embankment, and 12 drainage gates, has impacted 29 villages in Balangir district, leading to the displacement of 3 thousand families.
Among other dignitaries Balangir MP Sanjukat Singhdeo, Minister Niranjan Pujari, 5T Chairman VK Pandian, Development Commissioner Anu Garg, Zilla Parishad Chairperson , MLA Narsingh Mishra, Mukesh Mahaling, and Odisha State Housing Board Chairman Kalikesh Singhdeo, were present at the event.