Bahraich/Shravasti/Balrampur/Basti: Passing through the sugarcane and mustard fields of eastern Uttar Pradesh, the 6,623-km-long Saryu canal irrigation project has finally become operational this month, bringing respite and cheer in equal measure for approximately 29 lakh farmers who will benefit from it.
The nearly-Rs 10,000 crore project was in the making for over four decades. First conceptualised in the 1970s, the project got stalled several times because of issues such as complex land acquisition and allegedly erratic disbursement of funds, among others.
The canal involves interlinking five rivers of eastern UP — Ghagra, Saryu, Rapti, Banganga and Rohin — through a network of canals to irrigate 1.4 lakh hectares of land in 6,200 villages. It passes through nine districts in the region — Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Siddharthnagar, Basti, Gonda, Sant Kabir Nagar, Maharajganj and Gorakhpur.
Starting from Bahraich, where the project begins, ThePrint travelled for two days last week along the canal’s route for around 400 km, crossing five districts. Here are some glimpses from that journey.