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Some 40 years ago , the than Congress government in Bihar (united) devised a noble plan to utilize water of Ganga for cultivated vast dry lands falling in east-west direction in the state with a developed irrigational project called Bateshwar Ganga Pump Nahar Yojana (GPNY). Lifting water from Ganga and subsequently release it from the main reservoir to the networks of canals for irrigation is the silent feature of this project.
Most interestingly, chief minister, Nitish Kumar was scheduled to inaugurate the project at the site of the main reservoir on July 7, but his programme was deferred, officially no reason was clarified. But knowledgeable sources claimed that since the project is yet not completed, it wasn’t wise to inaugurate by the chief minister.
The irrigation project was designed to boost agriculture in a vast area of Kahalgaon subdivision of Bhagalpur along with adjoining areas of Jharkhand, by utilizing the water of Ganga. Once commissioned, it will quench the thrust over 27,603 hectares dry fertile lands spread over Pirpainty, Sanhoula and Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district. Pathargama, Mahgama and Godda blocks of Godda district in neighboring Jharkhand is also scheduled to be beneficiaries of the proposed project.
A top ranking source from state’s water resource department (WRD), said nearly 1,000 cusec water would be drawn from Ganga per minute to reach to different areas constituting the command area of BGPYN. The water, released from a height of 44 feet by auto flow, would reach different areas through main and branch canals, the source added.
It further pointed out that the main and branch canal water would reach Ishipur Barahait area in Pirpainty from Kahalgaon and further beyond to areas in Jharkhand before being discharged into river Geruwa that flows into river Ganga. However, a sizeable area was still to be connected through branch canals, he said.
The area primarily relies on wheat, potato, chilli and vegetable crops. However, once the canal water flows as per potential, a whole culture of diversified agriculture will be encouraged.
But unfortunately the project which was targeted to be completed in two phases, yet not complete its first phase. While the cost of the project, initiated in 1977, has escalated to Rs 828.80 crore upon conclusion from the estimated initial cost of Rs 389.07 crore.
It is very interesting that not a single public representative in the region became active for this high ambiguous project. It’s due to neglect by both the politicians as well as by the policy makers, the project still in defunct state. According to sources, presently water could only be reached upto Nandalalpur through the main canal. Even the construction of the main canal yet not completed upto the border of Jharkhand and major works in the distributary canals are also not completed. Under this chaotic situation, farmers even in places like Kahalgaon, Pirpainty and Sonhula blocks would have to wait further to became beneficiaries from BGPNY.
However departmental sources claimed that March 2018 targeted for completing the pending works of the irrigational canals. Principal secretary of state’s WRD in a letter to district magistrate, Bhagalpur asked to ensure immediate payment of compensations among the lands donors at Banshipur and Kushapur. The amount for compensations is available with the department but, yet to distribute. Besides, illegal encroachments at some places of the project by local people is another hurdle in the project.
“It is the classic example of collective apathy; huge chunk of fertile lands at it’s proposed command areas laying agricultural ineffective and the yield is very low just because of scarcity of irrigational facilities. One could easily understand the situation when the inaugural progamme of the chief minister has to be deferred,” commented Dilip Mishra, a senior BJP leader at Pirpainty.
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