Bihar's Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has urged the central government to decommission the controversial Farakka barrage, noting that it had lost its utility and was causing floods in the state over the years.
"We asked the previous UPA government to decommission it. I told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Farakka dam is causing heavy siltation in the Ganges, which is a major reason for floods every year in Bihar," he told reporters on Monday, reports NDTV
The Farakka barrage
located in West Bengal, roughly 16.5km from the Bangladesh border, was built to revive the Kolkata port
. It has been blamed for reducing water flow, causing salinity ingress and drying up of the Sundarbans delta
Bangladesh, heavily reliant on agriculture, is bearing the brunt of the barrage’s destructive effect
Bangladeshi environmental lawyer and activist Syeda Rizwana Hasan had said if India, an upper riparian of the Ganges, was facing difficulties, then the fate of Bangladesh as the lower riparian of Farakka, is easily understandable.
In late 2014, nine Indians filed a writ petition with the National Green Tribunal of India claiming that Farakka was liable for environmental losses of Rs3,226 crore annually.
Chief Minister Nitish said that many experts had endorsed his views on the barrage.
In the 1960s, the then West Bengal chief engineer Kapil Bhattacharya was singled out and marginalised
for pointing out fatal flaws of the project.
Nitish said there was no benefit from the barrage, which has been the genesis of recurring floods.
“If the riverbed remains shallow, flood waters will spill over and devastate more areas,” he said.
“The barrage needs to be decommissioned to ensure the natural flow of the Ganga for its rejuvenation and better silt management,” Hindustan Times
quoted him as saying.