NORTH KOEL RESERVOIR PROJECT : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: OCTOBER - 2017


North Koel project is an interstate project of Bihar and Jharkhand being executed in the drought prone district of Palamu (Jharkhand) Aurangabad, Gaya in the State of Bihar. The project comprises of 67.86 meter high Kutku Dam on the river North Koel at Mandal, a pick up barrage at Mohammadganj 100 Km down stream of the dam and net work of canals. The project is situated on the North Koel river, tributary on Sone River. It aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas in Jharkhand and Bihar. The construction of the projected originally had started in 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar forest department over environmental concerns. The Mandal dam as part of the project had threatened to submerge portions of the Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park. The National Wildlife Board (NWB) had cleared the project in June 2017 with certain conditions.

North Koel River rises on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand. It joins the Sone River (only right bank tributary of Ganga River) a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar. Its principal tributaries are the Auranga and the Amanat. It meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.

After completion of this project irrigation potential of 104.72 thousand hectare spread over in the district of Palamu (Jharkhand) Aurangabad and Gaya of Bihar state will be created. The CCA of the project is 1,24,270 hectare (Bihar - 1,11,800 hectare, Jharkhand - 12,470 hectare). The GCA of the project is 1,76,000 hectare. A provision of 24 MW hydro power station at Kutku dam in future is also made. Although the dam is located in Jharkhand the control of dam will remain with Bihar.

The main components of the project are:

  • Boulder cum Masonry Kutku dam on river North Koel, height 67.86 meter, length of 343 meter, with ogee shaped central spillway, having radial gates 9 number of 15x15 meter size to pass designed flood of 19580 cumec.
  • The dam will create a gross storage capacity of 1170 Mcum and live storage capacity of 960 Mcum.
  • A Barrage at Mohammadganj of 814.73 meter from which the main canal offtakes
  • The Right bank main canal of 110.40 km with head discharge of 85 cumec.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal to complete the balance works of the North Koel Reservoir Project in Jharkhand and Bihar at an estimated expenditure of Rs.1622.27 crore to be incurred during three financial years from the start of the project. The Cabinet also approved storage of water in dam restricted at lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve.

The project is situated on North Koel river which is a tributary of Sone river finally joining the river Ganga. The North Koel Reservoir is located in the most backward tribal areas in Palamau and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand State. The construction was originally started in the year 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Forest Department, Govt. of Bihar. Since then, the work on dam is at a standstill. The project aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas of Palamu & Garhwa districts in Jharkhand and Aurangabad & Gaya districts in Bihar. The unfinished project as on date is providing irrigation to 71,720 hectares and completion of this project will provide additional irrigation benefit to the extent of 39,801 hectares. The irrigation potential through this Project in the two States would be as follows:

  • Total irrigation potential: 1,11, 521 hectares
  • Irrigation potential in Bihar: 91,917 hectares
  • Irrigation potential in Jharkhand: 19,604 hectares

The total cost of the project as assessed on date is Rs 2391.36 crore. An expenditure amounting to Rs. 769.09 crore has been incurred on the project till date. The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for completing the balance of the North-Koel reservoir project in Jharkhand & Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs 1622.27 crore during three financial years. The common components amounting to Rs.1013.11 crore of balance works would be funded by the Central Government as a grant from PMKSY Fund. This would include cost of Net Present Value (NPV) and Compensatory Afforestation (CA) which comes to Rs.607 crore and Rs.43 crore respectively. The Central Government will also fund 60% of the cost of balance works amounting to Rs.365.5 crore (Bihar Rs.318.64 crore and Jharkhand Rs.46.86 crore) from Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) under PMKSY as grant from the States of Bihar and Jharkhand. The States of Bihar and Jharkhand will arrange 40% of remaining cost of balance works amounting to Rs.243.66 crore (Bihar 212.43 crore and Jharkhand 31.23 crore) as loan from LTIF through NABARD at the rate which is not subsidised and is related to market borrowing cost with no interest subvention.

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