One of the embankments of a branch canal in Jharkhand’s Giridih district collapsed on Wednesday night, hours after Chief Minister Raghubar Das inaugurated the Konar river irrigation project, and a senior official said it is possible that rat holes damaged the embankment.
The embankment collapsed near Bagodar in Giridih district, flooding fields in at least six villages, including Barwadih, Pratapur, Ghoskodih and Khataia.
Work to repair the embankment is on and water flow to the Bagodar area has been stopped, an official said.
The government said the Konar River Project was completed after 42 years. As part of the project, a 7 km underground tunnel and a 103 km canal was constructed.
The state government said that because of this irrigation project, more than 85 villages covering 62,895 hectares would receive water for irrigation. The project cost Rs 2,176 crore.
Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department, Arun Kumar Singh said the chief engineer of Water Resources Department, Hazaribagh, has been asked to file a report.
“The left part of the 25-30 feet kaccha embankment collapsed about 16 km from the Bagodar branch canal. There is a possibility that the breach was caused due to rat holes. Immediately, the water flow was stopped,” he said.
A high-level team headed by the chief engineer has been set up and asked to submit a report within 24 hours, he said. Officials also said the embankment collapsed due to “heavy pressure” of running water.
While inaugurating the project at Banasho in Vishnugarh block of Hazaribagh district, Das said, “After being left incomplete for the last 42 years, the irrigation project has now been inaugurated. Now, 85 villages of Hazaribagh, Giridih and Bokaro won’t face scarcity of water for irrigation.”
Leader of Opposition in Assembly Hemant Soren tweeted, “(The project) did not survive for 12 hours and now the allegations are being levelled against rats.”