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Bihar minister: Farakka barrage must be dismantled

  • Published at 04:22 pm October 2nd, 2019
web-Farakka Barrage
File photo of Farakka Barrage across the Ganges River in India

The Farakka barrage was constructed in the early 60s with the main purpose of helping flush out sediment deposition from Kolkata Port

Sanjay Kumar Jha, eastern India’s state of Bihar's water resources minister on Tuesday said that Farakka barrage, which has been built by compromising the state's interest, should be dismantled.

According to Times of India, the minister said the state government has been writing to the federal government for the resolution of the problems caused by the dam and will do so again encompassing all issues.

The Farakka barrage was constructed in the early 60s with the main purpose of helping flush out sediment deposition from Kolkata Port, besides addressing drinking water requirement in West Bengal. The dam became operational in 1975.

"It (Farakka barrage) must be dismantled in the interest of Bihar...People of Bihar have been suffering every year due to it. It has become 'sorrow' for all of us," Jha told reporters.

"What options do we have. Either it (barrage) should be dismantled otherwise people of Bihar will continue to suffer or it should be repaired completely by retrofitting it and carry out dredging in its upstream," he added.

The minister pointed out due to siltation in the upstream of the dam, the peak level water discharge from Ganga, which reaches Farakka within 48 to 50 hours in normal course from Patna, has not reached there even after seven days.

Stating that Ganga's highest flow level at Allahabad and Patna was recorded at 85.09 meter and 49.79 meter respectively on September 22 this monsoon, Jha said the water reached Patna from Allahabad covering a distance of 515km in just two days, while it has already taken seven days to cover 415km of distance between Patna and the Farakka and the peak level water has not reached there yet.

Making a strong plea to the central government to resolve the issue, he said if the things are not resolved, the problem would become "grave" especially for cities/towns situated along river Ganga in years to come.

Asked as how many gates of Farakka barrage have been opened for water discharge, Jha said out of 109 gates, 76 have been opened fully while remaining 33 gates have been kept opened upto 75% which is sufficient for water discharge.

"I don't have any knowledge as when did these 10 extra gates were built over Farraka barrage," Jha said when journalists pointed out that Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that 119 gates of Farakka barrage were raised to prevent floods in Patna and other districts.