“Okram Ibobi Singh, who is in Delhi to attend the chief ministers’ conference, met Singh yesterday and invited him to commission the project. The Prime Minister said he would be happy to commission it,” a source in Delhi today said.
Being constructed at Mata village across the Khuga, about 10km from Churachandpur district headquarters, the project was conceived in the seventies. Once functional, the project will irrigate 15,000 hectares of agriculture land, provide five million gallons of drinking water daily and generate 1.5MW of power.
The Planning Commission approved the project at Rs 15 crore in July 1980.
Then deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Singh laid the foundation stone of the project in 1984 and it was scheduled to be functional by 1987-88.
But work on the project is still on and the latest target for completion has been set for next month.
Over the years, the project cost, too, has escalated to Rs 250 crore.
The comptroller and auditor general’s reports cited lack of funds, poor planning and implementation as the reasons for the delay of the project. Protests by villagers over the land compensation also contributed to the delay.
On December 14, 2005, three villagers were killed and several others injured when security forces fired on them to contain the agitation.
The irrigation and flood control minister, N. Biren Singh, is now camping at the project site to ensure that the construction team does not miss the latest deadline.
Singh is also likely to inaugurate two women’s markets in Imphal and a sericulture project funded by Japan at Sangaipat in Imphal East district.
No date has been fixed for the Prime Minister’s visit. Ibobi Singh will review the progress of the projects and send the proposed dates for the visit.