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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 lift irrigational project called 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.
During last 40 years, this much ambiguous project was laying defunct, claimed Principal secretary, state water resource department, Arun Kumar Singh today. However he did not mention the exact reason behind it. But he claimed for the last one year his department was trying to inaugurate the project. “We have been applying all forces for the last one year to such a project which remained dumped for the last 40 years. And we almost success in the mission to start it, but unfortunately the mishap had taken place,” he replied.
However as a part of damage control exercise, Singh who reached Kahalgaon accepted that there were some technical problems on the particular point of the canal near the under pass inside NTPC Kahalgaon campus as complains of slippage and damage the embankments were raised earlier in several times which ultimately resultant yesterday evening mishap. The guard wall of northern side was broken due to water pressure and subsequently flooded vast parts of areas including NTPC campus.
Singh inspected the damaged portion of the canal of GPNY which was scheduled to be inaugurated by Nitish Kumar today, categorically refused that it was a gross failure. “It was simple a technical failure as persons concerned did not take notice about such complains and the slippages from that portions. The structure which was constructed by NTPC was wrong and our people did not take notice on it, proper action would be taken against all such persons responsible for that,” he tactfully passes the blame game on NTPC.
NTPC had constructed the box structure under pass on which the canal is passing and an important road inside its campus passes under it since the canal is passing through the campus of the power company . But Singh blamed that during construction of the structure, NTPC did not procure NoC from water resource department. “Now it is a matter of investigation, who had given order for such structure which is a technically deficit structure,” he claimed. According to him since the canal is passing on a bridge, the box structure constructed by NTPC, should have wing wall and a return wall. “To our utter surprise the box structure on the bridge doesn’t have any wing wall or any return wall while similar structure constructed by NTPC for another such under pass in other place have both the wing and return walls,” he pointed out.
“ Our main focus was always on the pumping station of the project which is very important so less attention was given to the canal systems which are otherwise very simple structures,” he clarified smartly . He however assured to rectify the systems so that it could be inaugurated soon.
It is not the sole instance when the inauguration programme of the chief minister was cancelled in last moments.Earlier Nitish Kumar was scheduled to inaugurate the project on July 7 last but his programme was deferred in the eleventh hours, officially no reason was clarified at that time. But sources said at that time some problems were not solved in the pumping station.
With an aim to boost agriculture in a vast area of Kahalgaon subdivision of Bhagalpur along with adjoining areas of Jharkhand, by utilizing the water of Ganga, the project was initiated. 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.
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 remained in defunct state for last 40 years. 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. Earlier the 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.
RJD unit of Kahalgon today staged a day long dharna at the block premises to protest against the failure of the state government. “Collapse of the canal of GPNY is enough to understand the situation in Bihar under Nitish Kumar. After Srijan scam, it was another episode which shows the failure of the government,” alleged Ramvilash Paswan, RJD’s MLA from Pirpainty.
“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,” laments Dilip Mishra, a senior BJP leader at Pirpainty. He further said that the inauguration was scheduled just due to Nitish Kumar’s promptness but the accident in the eleventh hours has ruined the prospects of the project.