Bihar Water Resouces Minister Sanjay Kumar Jha said on Wednesday that cities on the bank of Ganga, such as Patna, Buxar, Bhagalpur and Munger, would have no respite till the Farakka barrage was redesigned to allow sediments to flow with minimal obstruction.
The statement comes at a time when a four-member committee set up by the Bihar government is probing the waterlogging in Patna to fix accountability and suggest long-term corrective steps.
Jha told The Indian Express, “It was sheer good fortune that the Ganga water level did not rise and enter the state capital. But there is no guarantee that this cannot happen in the future. The desilting of Ganga has never been carried out. Farakka Barrage has become the sorrow of Bihar.”
The minister said several areas of Bhagalpur and Munger town were flooded despite all gates of the barrage being open. He added that he had taken up the matter with the Centre in June.
“The Bihar government was not taken into confidence before the signing of Farakka Treaty in 1996 under which Bangladesh is given 1500 cusecs of water daily during the non-flood season,” said the minister.
He said the design of the barrage was flawed. “If it is not possible to dismantle the barrage, it should be redesigned in way so that heavy silt is not accumulated in Ganga,” said the minister, adding that the Centre had only given assurances to address the matter.
“We also wonder why the onus of supplying 1500 cusecs water daily to Bangladesh had to fall on Bihar. During the non-flood season, only 400 cusecs of water come from upstream and several tributaries of Ganga in Bihar help replenish the remaining water. We do not get any special assistance in lieu of this and our concern regarding heavy desilting and demand for changing the barrage design is also not heard,” said Jha.
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