TURA, Nov 10: Almost 30 years after it was first commissioned, the long delayed Rongai Valley Medium Irrigation project may finally see its completion after a visit by the Deputy CM and PWD in-charge, Prestone Tynsong made a visit to the village of Chibinang in West Garo Hills on Friday.
The irrigation project was first commissioned in the year 1989 by the then Congress leader, late PA Sangma. Though work on the project was slow, by 2003, about 75% of the main headwork for the project was completed. The project stalled thereafter and has remained in limbo.
Despite the project being in limbo, attempts to revive it were taken up by Late PA Sangma as well as former MLA of Phulbari, M I Sarkar before his untimely demise this year.
The announcement by the PWD minister has once again got the ball rolling after a site visit and a meeting thereafter wherein he promised to restart work on the project – however that may be.
“I assure you that work on the project will restart no matter what happens. This project is expected to benefit more than 50000 people. Even though we may not have money right now but I assure you this project will restart,” said Tynsong while addressing a gathering of close to 1000 that came to listen to the minister.
Tynsong was on his first visit to the village and confessed he knew little about what to expect.
“I thought that I would only pay a visit to the site with department heads to view the project but seeing the number of people who have come expectant of revival of this project is mind boggling. It just shows that this project is important to them,” added Tynsong.
The Deputy CM stated that the cost of completion of the stalled project would come between Rs 150-200 crores.
“We have enough cultivable land in and around the area to actually feed the entire state for about 6 months at least. There are hundreds of villages that will reap the benefits of this project and people have waited a lifetime for this project to be complete. Now hopefully we will see its completion,” said Phulbari MLA, SG Esmatur Mominin (Rahibul).
The MLA recalled how the cancellation of the project by the previous Congress government had come as a shock in 2013.
“My brother, late MI Sarkar, along with residents of the constituency rushed to Delhi to meet PA Sangma to seek its revival as he saw what the future would hold if the project was complete. The late leader promised to help. The revival of this project will be a tribute to their vision for the people of this area,” added Mominin.
The Phulbari MLA also promised free cultivation to the farmers of the region stating that if the project water is provided, the government would provide the seeds and fertilizers free of cost.