Nepal is getting water for irrigation under the Mahakali Irrigation Project Third Phase after 26 years of signing of the Nepal-India Integrated Mahakali Treaty. Construction works of the main canal of the Mahakali Irrigation Project Third Phase were started from Brahmadev of Kanchanpur since 2063 BS. India spent nearly two decades in the construction of infrastructures including the 1,200 metres main canal towards Nepali territory and the head regulator of the Project. Water from the Mahakali river will now be available via the main canal for irrigation with the completion, some time back, of the construction of the main canal and structures by the Indian side as per the requirements of the Treaty.
The Mahakali Irrigation Project Third Phase is preparing to mark the National Paddy Day on June 29 by bringing water for irrigation via the main canal. Indian side however wants to carry out trial of the 1,200 metres canal that it has constructed. “We have officially written to the Indian authorities concerned for bringing water via the main canal on June 29 on the occasion of the National Paddy Day. Discussions and works on bringing water are ongoing,” said Shambhu Pandit, the senior divisional engineer of the Project Third Phase. He said India has informed them that it will take three to four days for the test-run of the main canal.
The National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) of India is preparing for the test-run of the main canal. Mahakali Irrigation Project has constructed approximately 13 kilometers main canal from Brahmadev before this. Construction of additional 15 kilometres of irrigation canal is in its final phase. The Project works have been speeded up after it was included among the so-called National Pride Projects. “18.5 kilometres of the main canal is readied. There is a escape at the Gaujikhola stream at 12.5 kilometres point. We will discharge the water at that point,” Pandit said. More than a decade has been spent in construction of 28 kilometres of the main canal. Fifteen kilometres of the main canal is under construction. It is being constructed in three packages and will be completed when it reaches Toti Phuleli of Shuklaphanta Municipality. Pandit further said that a process has been forwarded for calling for tender for the construction of additional 10 kilometres of the main canal.
According to the Project, the government has allocated Rs 1. 26 billion to it for the fiscal year 2079-80 BS. The project implementation got delayed due to compensation for land acquisition and the budgetary constraint issues. Lately, the implementation of the project gets a momentum. The branch canal aims to provide irrigation facility to around 5,300 hectares of land along with the major canal. The project has proceeded with the land acquisition for the development of 22 branch canals. The construction of 151 kilometer canal under the project will irrigate 33,500 hectares of land in Kanchanpur and Kailali. So far, Rs 4 billion has been spent the project and the construction of the major canal starting from the bottom of Chure region is targeted at Malakheti of Kailali and Punarbas, the southern part of Kanchanpur.
Though the agreement mandates the Indian side to make supplies of 350 cusec waters for the irrigation purposes in Dodhara-Chandani municipality, but works to construct the canal is yet to kick off. Bedkot municipality mayor in Kanchanpur, Bhojraj Bohara, said if there was a water supply of Mahakali River, it would be a respite for farmers of northern part of the district. As he said, constructions works of major canal are going on at upper part of the Bedkot. Once the works get completed, the upper as well as lower parts of the district will have irrigation facilities. To date, farmers here are dependent on rain-fed farming. Paddy cultivation takes place in 48,000 hectares of land in the district.