A brief introduction
A barrage of length 317 m has been constructed on the Rapti River at Agaiya of Rapti Sonari Rural Municipality in Banke District of Lumbini Province with the aim of providing reliable irrigation facilities on total 42,766 hectares of land of 6 rural municipalities, Kohalpur municipality and Nepalgunj sub-metropolitan of same district. The Sikta Irrigation Project, which was started from F.Y.2062/63 by the Government of Nepal from its own resources, covers command area 33766 hectares on the western side and 9000 hectares on the eastern side of the Rapti River.
Initially, the concept of Sikta Irrigation Project was proposed as West Rapti Multipurpose Project mentioned in the Pre-Feasibility Study (AD 1975 to AD1976). Pre-feasibility study of Sikta Irrigation Project was done in BS 2032 (AD 1975) by German consulting firm with the help of UNDP and ADB, the feasibility study report of this project was submitted in BS 2036 (AD 1980) by the same organization. From this study, the project was found to be feasible and requested Asian Development Bank for financial assistance to implement the project in 2036. Since the Indian side could not provide the consent over implementation of this project, the Asian Development Bank expressed its inability to provide financial assistance, so the implementation of this project could not proceed.
The re-feasibility study of this project was done in BS 2040 (AD 1983) by the Regional Irrigation Directorate under the Department of Irrigation, Environment and Meteorology, while the feasibility study of this project with the financial support of the European Union was last done in BS 2059 (AD 2002). The study completed with the participation of European engineers, it was recommended to implement the project as it was seen to be feasible from the technical and financial aspects. According to the feasibility study, the total cost of this project was estimated 7 billion 45 crores at that time. The implementation period of the Project was kept for seven years.
When the project looked attractive, the European Union, Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and OPEC Fund were requested to provide financial support for the implementation of project and these donor organizations shown their interest. For the construction of the project costing about 100 million US dollars, after the above-mentioned organizations had divided among themselves who would support how much money, due to various reasons, this project was again deprived of the opportunity to receive the support of donor organizations.
As external financial assistance was not available, the only option to provide irrigation facilities in the dry land of Banke was to provide funds from internal sources for the implementation of Sikta Irrigation Project. According to this, the Irrigation Department proceeded with the contract management of the construction process of the main dam and main canal with the financial and technical resources of the Government of Nepal.
The procurement master plan of this multiyear project was approved (Rs. 12 billion 80 crores) on BS 2064/8/3 to be completed by F.Y.2070/071. In the Procurement Master Plan, it is envisioned that the project will be completed in three phases, but only 12.8 billion is estimated for the first and second phase and the cost of the third phase is not included. Again, with the target of completion of project in F.Y.2076/77 (15 years) revised procurement master plan of 25 billion 2 crores was prepared which includes additional 9000 hectares of command area on eastern side by constructing eastern main canal and other structures. It seems to have been approved in F.Y.2071/72.
Since the project was not achieved the target mentioned in the approved latest procurement master plan to complete the entire work by F.Y.2076/77, the directive/decision to re-submit the proposal for time extension of the updated procurement master plan within the same cost. At the end of F.Y. 2078/079, the cost estimate revised and master plan updated with the DPR report accounting of the progress of the construction works and the remaining works to be done in the future is Rs. 52.64 billion to complete total works by F.Y.2089/90 and has been approved on 2079 Bhadra by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation under rule 7 of the Public Procurement Regulations 2064.
17 thousand householders in the district of 4 lakh farmers are expected to benefit from the project, and the estimated internal return of the project is 18 percent with increasing crop density 168 percent to 242 percent.
The main works completed under the project so far:
1. Headworks (Civil and Hydro mechanical works)
2. West Main Canal (45.25 km)
3. Land acquisition (110.55 ha.)
4. West Main Canal with 3 branches (Akalgharwa 4.6 km, Gohwa 2.05 km, Prasenipur 4.6 km and Pidari 4.1 km)
Works under construction for this fiscal year 2079/080:
1. Shidhaniya branch (5.2 km to 6.0 km under construction) to be completed in current fiscal year
2. East Main Canal (started in F.Y.2074/75) from the said contract, main canal with concrete structure up to 37+675 chainage and earthen canal up to chainage 44+900, and branch canal (Rajkulo, S1, S2, S3, S4 and Phattepur) will be completed in month of February of current fiscal year.
3. Command area protection works (ongoing at some places)
4. Environmental Impact Assessment and Prevention works
5. Land Acquisition (Main Canal, Branch and Branch Canals) etc.