Pending irrigation projects are proving to be a great burden on Jharkhand’s exchequer, with the cost in some cases escalating 50 times the original estimates.

Work on eight major and 18 medium projects are under way for the last two to three decades. The delay is not only financially hurting the tribal state but also adding to the woes of the farmers, already reeling under successive droughts.

Swarnrekha Multi Purpose Project, the biggest irrigation project in the state, is partially completed. It was mooted in 1973, its cost was reportedly estimated at Rs 128.99 crore in 1978. The estimate was revised in 2011 to Rs.6,613.74 crore. Till February 2015, the expenditure was about Rs.3,575 crores.

The state government plans to complete this project by 2017-2018. Besides the SMPP, there are scores of large, medium and small irrigation projects pending in the state.

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