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40 year passes but the dreams in the eyes of many farmers to turn their barren lands into green once again vanished this evening with the collapse of the walls of the main canal of Bateshwarsthan Ganga Pump Nahar Pariyojna, subsequently inundated vast areas inside NTPC’s Kahalgaon super thermal power station campus.
Incidentally, the collapse of the wall causing floods like situation inside NTPC campus along with some other adjourning parts this evening was happened when the project was getting ready for inauguration in the hand of chief minister, Nitish Kumar on tomorrow morning.
However, the programe of Nitish Kumar has been postponed with the tragedy.
The fate of the Bateshwarsthan Ganga Pump Nahar Parijoyna has been hanging in balance since 1977. With an aim to irrigate 22658 hector of lands in Bihar and neighbouring Godda, the project was started with initial investment of Rs 13.88 crore by Yojna Ayog. However it was estimated that after starting the project to irrigate further areas, the estimate would raise to Rs 828 crore. The main function of the project is to uplift water from river Ganga and subsequently sending it to two pump houses located one and one and half Km away, on Sivkumari Pahari and then circulate the water to the main canal along with other branch canals.
Keeping in view the chief minister’s programme for the inauguration, officials and engineers concerned were busy since this morning. Out of 11 pumps to circulate water from river Ganga to the main canal, 5 pumps were supplying water since early morning to the main canal. But at around 5.30 pm all of sudden the main wall of the canal collapsed near the under bridge, located inside the NTPC campus and inundated vast areas within few second.
The concept of the irrigation project which was scheduled to be inaugurated tomorrow after 40 years of its construction, to circulate water for irrigation to different parts of Bihar and Jharkhand areas after fetching it from river Ganga. But local residents alleged the lackadaisical attitude of the official concerned of the project who repeatedly ignored the complain by the locals about damage of the wall earlier in many occasions.
“5 pumping sets were running from very early morning circulating heavy waters into the main canal. All of sudden in this evening we observed heavy water flow from the under bridge areas from where the canal runs inside NTPC campus. Soon the heavy flow of water inundated vast areas. The intensity of the water current was so high that no one dared to come out,” narrated a resident near the main pumping station of the project. Some villagers said that the main canal was also damaged near Ranipur areas causing the flood situation worst.
Major areas inside the campus including Sirddharth Nagar Dwar, CISF colony, CISF barrack, contractors colony, Murkatia chawk (one of the main entrance to NTPC campus) , Kuthari Kali sthan, Jaiswala petrol pump along with other parts were inundated. “The current in water is so high that we could not start rescue operation or even to look the conditions inside the campus,” a NTPC official confirmed.
All senior district officials from district headquarters have rushed to the spot. Local sources alleged that in July the program of Nitish Kumar was deferred in the last moment when some fault like slippage of water from the walls of the main canal was come to notice. “We several time earlier complained the damages on the wall of the main canal before the official concerned particularly near the under bridge but no one paid concern, resulting the incident,” some villagers told.
No casualty has so far been reported and the actual loss to the properties also not ascertain. “The water entered with high intensity but now it is the problem of water logging,” said Seema Singh, a resident inside NTPC campus. However the sources said that the armory of CISF is also inundated and caused major loss to the barrack and CISF colony.
“We have been waiting for irrigational water since last 40 years and hoped from tomorrow we could finally managed to quench the thrust of our barren lands, but with the collapse of the walls of the main canal, our dreams have scattered,” murmured Anandi Mandal of Thakur Ganti at neighbouring Godda in Jharkhand. Many farmers demanded a high level inquiry into the entire episode.