Senior BJP leader Sushil Modi on Tuesday questioned Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s demand for decommissioning of the Farakka barrage. Kumar had on Monday demanded that the Centre decommission the Farakka barrage located in West Bengal as it has no utility and was a major reason for floods in Bihar due to deposit of silts every year. “First of all, Farakka dam is guided by an International agreement between India and Bangladesh. This is not an issue of any one particular state. The matter relates to two countries,” the senior BJP leader told reporters in Patna.
He said the flood affected area was 25 lakh hectares in Bihar in 1954 when the length of all embankments in the state was 160 km, but the flood affected area increased to 72.95 lakh hectares in 2016 with the construction of 3731 km of embankments.” “Will the state government consider or recommend to remove all embankments built in the state to deal with the issue of floods as it shows that embankments have not been able to protect from floods,” said Modi, a former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister.
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On the Bihar Chief Minister’s protest on proposed reservoir at Buxar and in Uttar Pradesh enroute Allahabad-Haldia waterways, Sushil Modi said it has been already been made clear that no barrage would be constructed on Ganga for National Waterways 1. “The World Bank’s Engineering consultant in its feasibility report has completely ruled out any barrages on National Waterway 1 stretch (Varanasi to Haldia)”, he said showing official papers of Inland Waterways Authority of India in this regard.
The Centre also through different letters has already made it clear that there was no talk of building any barrage between Varanasi to Haldia (NW-1), Sushil Modi said. He also questioned the Bihar Chief Minister’s protest when the state government has already given its consent for the said Waterways.
He quoted a letter written by Inland Waterways Authority of India Chairman Amitabh Verma to Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh in January last which said, “The consent of Government of Bihar was duly obtained for the notification of six rivers for declared as national waterway viz MW 37 (Gandak), 54 (Karmnasa), 58 (Kosi), 81 (Punpun) and 94 (Sone).”
Sushil Modi said the national seminar in Patna from February 25-26 should deliberate and study the adverse impact of Farakka dam and also discuss the problems of silt deposit in other major rivers of the state including Kosi, the worst affected by siltation.