Govt pressured to do quality check on Sikta canalThe government has decided to conduct the quality check of Sikta Irrigation Project amid growing concerns that its main canal has been repeatedly damaged by floods.
The government has decided to conduct the quality check of Sikta Irrigation Project amid growing concerns that its main canal has been repeatedly damaged by floods.
The Irrigation Ministry has directed the Department of Irrigation to check its quality in response to the flurry of complaints filed by people from all walks of life.
Sikta is one of the national pride projects being constructed with domestic resources. It has been under construction for the past 13 years.
The project aims to irrigate 80 percent of arable land in Banke. Currently, only 30 percent of the 35,970 hectares of arable land has irrigation facilities in the district.
Questions have been raised after the recent floods damaged the canal at multiple places, including the slope of the canal at Mudai and Gawarpur, both situated in the Banke district.
After the slope of the canal at Mudai was damaged, water entered the village, washing away several houses and agricultural land. Similarly, at Gawarpur, a bridge attached to the canal was also damaged. Such incidents prompted locals to demand for a study to check the construction quality.
This is not the first time where the quality of the construction of the irrigation project has been questioned.
On June 17 last year, a section of canal collapsed when water was released into it during a test and the incident raised the eyebrows of several people. Another incident that arose during the testing phase was the collapse of a 15m section near the Jamune river. The canal was supposed to be fully completed but it failed to meet quality checks.
Apart from the damage, cracks appeared at different parts of the canal during the test. Kalika Construction, the contractor of the Sikta Irrigation Project, repaired the damage last September.
Following the collapse of the canal section, questions were raised over the quality of construction. However, both the contractor and the Irrigation Ministry officials claimed the damage was not a cause for concern.
The national pride project is expected to be completed by the fiscal year 2019-20. The government has estimated the total cost of the project at Rs25 billion.