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Vikheho expounds Vision 2020 for irrigation & flood control

Parliamentary Secretary Y. Vikheho Swu addressing the officers conference of the irrigation & flood control department in Kohima on May 28. (DIPR Photo)

Kohima, May 28: Parliamentary secretary for irrigation & flood control Y. Vikheho Swu while expounding on Vision 2020 of the department, today advocated that the department identify all potential area or area willing to be provided with lift irrigation/drip irrigation.

Addressing the officers conference of the irrigation & flood control department here today, Swu asserted that workmanship and proper supervision is required, adding that a mission or vision mode with define target or goals is also essential to carry out the task in effective manner. He also stressed on the need to draw district map indicating area under operation at the same time indicating already operated with specific details about the river or stream. The parliamentary also emphasized the need to have intense localise studies (river by river, stream by stream) and come out with clear target for coverage and completion. He appealed to all the engineers to locate and identify all the potential areas and come out with clear target for improvement.

I&FC chief engineer Er. Yanger Ao said the department of I&FC Nagaland is becoming an indispensable department due to the global climatic change scenario. “This department is a water sector department directly link to the programmes implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources. In the present context of developmental activities in the country, the water resources department is emerged as prominent and important sector vis-à-vis the production of food, supply of fresh water, and for protection of environment,” Er. Yanger said.

Touching on global climatic changes and global warming, the Chief Engineer said Nagaland is also experiencing its presence particularly by the farming community where water is the main issue for their livelihood. “It is observed recently that almost all the streams originating from hills, which were perennial during the past years, are drying up unexpectedly. We are concern how the vegetation growths in the hills are extraordinarily stressed particularly during the period from November to April. The mitigation on climate change may be beyond our scope; however, the attention for adaptability on global climate change is possible,” he said adding that in such situation, the role of I&FC department is found to play actively for innovation of various methods of water conservation and its uses, which is the need of the hour. In 2013, the department has achieved a landmark by completing 25 years of its existence after becoming a full-fledged department in the state.

Also touching on the implementation of various schemes and programme by the department, he lamented that although new programmes are introduced over the years, the strength of technical personnel in the department remained almost the same, hampering implementation and promotion of various programmes. He said that to further the developmental programmes, “We see no other alternative than to plan and create effective strength of manpower and recruit the right person for the right job.” However, the Chief Engineer said, due to shortage of manpower to cope with the implementation of programmes and schemes, the department is now engaging 162 technical and ministerial staff employees on casual basis as recommended by the government.

He said it is the desire of the department to do away the system of appointment on casual basis as because a large chunk of plan fund, which is meant for developmental works, is utilized for their salaries. “It would have been a great relief to the department if their salaries expenditure is borne by the finance department by LOC system as all other engineering departments in the state,” he said and felt that the department have right to claim the casual salaries from the finance department as “we are contributing 4% of the work contract tax in all the civil bills and also 13% works contract tax where ever applicable.”

During 2012-13 alone, the department has contributed an amount not less than Rs. 5 crore to the finance department by way of works contact taxes. The chief engineer also raised some issues at the conference, which may be pursued with the proper authority for adoption and implementation. Among others, he suggested that the department of I&FC should be renamed as the department of water resources, supplementing that the authority over the rivers and underground water of the state should be in custody of the department of water resources and appropriate Acts should be adopted.

New programmes such as storage of rainwater run-off and creation off water bodies especially in the watershed areas of the hills should be introduced and taken up initially under the state plan funding before seeking fund from Ministries (GoI). The state being 100% tribal area, the department should explore appropriate schemes to formulate Detailed Project Reports (DPR) and submit to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (GoI) for funding and implementation in the state.

Additional chief engineer Er. Echongbemo Lotha in his power point presentation asserted that there is a tremendous scope both for minor as well as medium irrigation development in the state having an irrigation potential area availability at 1,65,000 Ha to be developed. He stated that irrigation development is not only to develop this uncovered area but to intensify the productivity on the potential area utilization with efficient water resources structures. In many of the Minor Irrigation projects, there is scope for generation of electricity by installing mini power generators of the order upto 0.5MW, he said. Mentionably, the existing manpower strength of I&FC stands at 573.

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