Irrigation Minister: Toshka has been idle since 2008

Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hossam Maghazy said the Toshka project to reclaim 450,000 acres has been idle since 2008. “But we are reviving it again,” he said during his inspection tour of the area, adding that the ministry is providing investors with 60 wells and solar energy generators.
“We are also providing water for 17,000 acres offered to young graduates to reclaim,” he said. “And the UAE Al-Zahera Company will complete the reclamation of 40,000 acres in the coming six months.”
With respect to the Al-Maghra area of the one-million-acre project, Maghazy said the a joint technical committee of the Ministries of Agriculture and Irrigation continues to work on limiting encroachments on the area until farming companies complete their legal status.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb visited Toshka July 2014 to see why the project was not progressing, even though more than LE7 billion were spent on it. 
Controversy has surrounded the project, ongoing since 1997, which has very little to show for the millions of dollars poured into it during a period of 17 years.
The project, which was launched by former president Hosni Mubarak, was meant to provide new agricultural lands for Egypt. 
Studies have shown that many technical aspects of the project were not taken into consideration before the first ploughs started digging.
Meanwhile, the Meghazy said he decided to limit rice cultivations to 1.7 million acres in eight governorates due to the water scarcity challenges facing Egypt. “Violators will be fined,” he warned, yet said that President Sisi ordered a reduction of 50 percent in the fines to make it easier on farmers.
He also said that a map of the most polluted villages has been devised for the competent ministries to start addressing.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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