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Construction on North Koel reservoir to resume after 24 years; Uma Bharti calls it 'weapon against Maoists' in Jharkhand

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday approved a proposal to finish the incomplete work in the North Koel reservoir project in Jharkhand and Bihar at an estimated investment of Rs 1,622 crore.

Uma Bharti. PTI

File image of Uma Bharti. PTI

The North Koel reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Jharkhand's Palamau and Garhwa districts, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said, adding the project would be like a weapon against Maoists in the areas.

The Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the completion of the project.

The Cabinet also allowed the storage of water in the Mandal Dam part of the project. The water level will be lower than that envisaged earlier to prevent flooding and protect the Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.

The project will irrigate more than 1.11 lakh hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu and Garhwa in Jharkhand and Aurangabad and Gaya in Bihar, she added.

"This project will help end disparity in these districts which are Maoist-affected. This irrigation project will act like a weapon in fighting Maoists in these areas," Bharti told reporters.

Maoist groups have been active in the poverty-hit backward areas.

The project will provide farmers with irrigation facilities, which will help in improving their lives, the minister added.

The construction work was started in 1972 and carried on till 1993, when it was stopped by the Bihar government's forest department,which opposed the dam.

The execution of the project will be monitored by an empowered committee headed by the CEO of the NITI Aayog.

Updated Date: Aug 16, 2017 19:49 PM

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