The leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar have written to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, urging him to stop the ongoing construction work of a pilot channel in Uttar Pradesh that is currently underway in some districts of eastern UP to divert the flow of rivers towards the West Champaran district in Bihar.
Some construction work is also underway in the West Champaran district with the permission of the Bihar government. The local leaders and residents are claiming that over 70,000 people of Yogapatti, Barria and Nautan blocks will get affected by the proposed water channel, which is supposed to end at the Gandak river.
The state BJP leaders feel that as 21 districts of north Bihar are already affected by floods, the additional water from Uttar Pradesh will cause more devastation in the state.
State Tourism Minister Narayan Prasad and ex-minister Vinay Bihari are spearheading the protest.
“We have written to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy CM Renu Devi, Water Resource Minister Sanjay Jha and the Principal Secretary in Water Resource Ministry, urging them to stop the construction work in West Champaran and also apply pressure on Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath to stop construction work in his state,” Prasad said.
Following pressure from the local residents, the construction work in West Champaran is being carried out during the night.
In a video statement, Vinay Bihari, former minister and current MLA from the Lauria Assembly constituency, said: “It (the project) will badly affect a large number of residents in Yogapatti, Bariya and Nautan blocks. Ten village panchayats in my constituency will also be badly affected by it.
“We are already facing challenges due to flooding in north Bihar, and the additional water will create havoc. It will also threaten the district headquarter of Bettiah. I don’t know how the Bihar government has given permission to divert the flow of water towards the Gandak river.”