Remove Farakka barrage to save Bihar from floods, says Nitish

Patna, Aug 21 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday demanded removal of the Farakka barrage on the Ganga river and formulation of a national silt management policy to protect the state from devastating floods.

“It is not possible to protect Bihar from devastating floods without removal of Farakka barrage on the Ganga river,” Nitish Kumar told the media here before going for an aerial survey of the flood-affected six districts — including Patna, where the situation has worsened due to rising water level in the Ganga and its tributaries.

Nitish Kumar made the demand a day after the overflowing waters of the Ganga river entered Patna city and created fear among residents living in localities near its banks.

“I have been raising this demand for some time but the central government has so far ignored it,” he said.

Nitish Kumar said the Farakka barrage on the Ganga river in West Bengal has brought big disadvantage for Bihar. “It is for the central government to make a fresh study or research on damage by the Farakka barrage to Bihar.”

He said silt deposited in the Ganga in Bihar due to the barrage is something the central government should take care of to save the state from devasting floods every year.

Nitish Kumar said silt management is the right answer to the problem. “Formulation of a national silt management policy is a must now for ensuring uninterrupted flow of water not only in Ganga, but all the other rivers.”

Meanwhile, Bihar Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Vayasji told media here that there is no threat of flood to Patna. “I would like to appeal to people not to go by rumours or reports in some media; there is no threat of flood in Patna, it is safe,” he said.

The Chief Minister said five teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) have been deployed in flood affected districts for relief and rescue operations.

According to officials of the water resources development department, the Ganga has been flowing above the danger mark and the situation is alarming. All the drains, which lead into the river, have been sealed in view of the rising river water level.

An alert has been issued and the administration has appealed to people to keep calm.

–IANS

ik/rn/vt

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