Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday expressed grave concern over receding water flow in river Ganga and highlighted the growing silt deposit due to Farakka barrage causing floods in the state every year.
Kumar also raised concern over proposed construction of reservoir at Buxar and some others in Uttar Pradesh enroute Allahabad-Haldia National waterway. He was speaking after inaugurating an International Seminar on Ganga here. The two-day seminar organised by state’s Water Resources department titled “Incessant Ganga” is attended by a host of people working for environment and water management in the country and also abroad. They include Magsaysay award winner “Waterman” Rajendra Singh, Environmentalist and Chipko Movement leader Vandana Shiva, environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhat, Punjab’s environmentalist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, economists Bharat Junjhunwala and Jayant Bandopadhyay.
Some experts from Germany, Nepal and Bangladesh are also participating in the seminar.
Kumar highlighted the problems due Farakka barrage which is causing floods in Bihar every year due to heavy silt deposits.
Kumar has in the past demanded decommission of Farakka barrage which he said has little utility and responsible for flood in Bihar annually.
He, however, made it clear that the present seminar was not meant to push the demand for decommission of Farakka Dam.
In an oblique dig at rival BJP leaders who citing some “unauthenticated” papers of Inland Waterways Authority to say that there is no proposal to construct any barrage between Varanasi to Farakka, he asked “do they mean to say that barrage would be built in between Allahabad to Varanasi?”
Kumar said he has read statement of Union Surface Transport minister Nitin Gadkari on proposed barrage at Buxar and on some locations in UP as part of Inland Waterway I.
“These (BJP leaders) are quoting a senior official of the Waterways Authority who is spreading confusion through false assertions,” he added.
Kumar reminded of PM Narendra Modi famous statement during 2014 general elections in Varanasi, “Maa Ganga ne mujhe Bulaya hai” (Mother Ganga has called me).
“When I recently visited Varanasi people told me that mother Ganga is searching for her son,” he said.
Kumar said his concern for Ganga was not political but personal and from Environmental point of view.
“I have grown in an area (Bakhtiyarpur) on bank of Ganga and studied in Institute (NIT now in Patna) also near Ganga and have grown watching the mighty river and thats why I have been raising concern for it at every platform,” he said.