Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes, while speaking during a conference on ‘Jal Manthan’ organized by Union Water Resources Ministry at New Delhi today, said that it would go a long way in resolving the problems being faced in water resources projects and particularly hilly States like Himachal Pradesh would be immensely benefited from it. Uma Bharati, Union Water Resources Minister presided over the conference.

Stokes said that Himachal had a very limited area under irrigation. Out of total 5.83 lakh hectares agriculture land, only 3.35 lakh hectares area had been earmarked for irrigation. At present, the irrigation facilities were being made available for 2.60 lakh hectares area in the State.

She said under AIBP the work on one major, three medium and 407 small irrigation schemes had been completed. The irrigation facility had been provided to 69650 hectares area with the central assistance of Rs. 650.14 crore. She said a proposal of 109 mini irrigation schemes amounting to Rs. 338.82 crore had been sent for the approval of Government of India which would help in providing irrigation facilities to 17792 hectares area. She urged the Union Minister for early approval of these schemes.

Stokes said that 2.31 lakh hectares area of the State was flood prone area. The State had completed the second phase of channelization of Batta river in Simaur district and Swan river in Una district with central assistance of Rs.182.04 crore whereas the channelization of Chhonch Khad in Kangra district was under progress.

The Minister urged to restore the financial assistance on 90:10 basis under Flood Control Programme and said that the amendment in financial assistance of 70:30 under the programme was not beneficial for Special Category States like Himachal Pradesh. She said that there was minimum possibility of repairs and maintenance of water reservoirs in the State as per the fixed norms and therefore the State was not able to get financial assistance from the Union Government under this programme. She requested for making provision of construction of small reservoirs so that the development of water resources could be ensured.