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Barrage proposal on Ganga: Bihar may move court against Centre

The Ganga flows by the Garhwal hills on Sunday as sleepy Uttarakhand stirred up for the approaching election on February 14 | Vikram sharma

PATNA: Bihar government may move court to stop the Centre from constructing proposed barrages on the Ganga between Haldia and Allahabad, the state Assembly was informed today.

“The proposal to build barrages at various points on the Ganga between Haldia and Allahabad will obstruct the flow of water in the sacred river,” Water Resources Department (WRD) Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh said.

“The Bihar government opposes such a move in principle and may move court to stall construction work of such barrages,” Singh said. He was replying to debate on his department’s budgetary allocation of Rs 3814.06 crore which was later passed after opposition members staged a walkout expressing dissatisfaction with the Minister’s speech.

Uniterrupted flow of water in the Ganga is a big issue for the state government for which it has organized an international seminar recently, Singh said. This uninterrupted flow has been disrupted by Farraka barrage which causes siltation in the upstream leading to flood in Bihar every year, the minister said. Barrages on the Ganga between Haldia and Allahabad for inland waterways would further compound flood-related woes of Bihar, he said.

Singh also hit out at the Centre for sitting on Rs 947.90 crore which is due to Bihar. He said the state had spent the amount on a flood control programme and two other projects in which the sharing ratio was 50:50 or 100% in case of a particular project.

On his department’s programmes, Singh said that the WRD has laid equal emphasis on its two thrust areas – food control and irrigation infrastructure – since June 1 last year and manpower was assigned to look after the works separately. The division of manpower has helped the WRD in better flood management last year with engineers manning embankments 24×7, he said.

Irrigation infrastructure was also improved and, as a result, potential irrigation network has reached to 29.29 lakh hectare out of a total area of 53.5 lakh hectare, Singh said. An addition area of 8.46 lakh hectare has been brought under irrigation infrastructure but it was not being utilised due to siltation in the rivers, he said.

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