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Farakka barrage a curse for Bihar, say experts

Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh with eminent environmentalist from Punjab Sant Balbir Singh at the international conference on the Ganga in Patna on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Echoing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s concern for the receding water flow in the Ganga and increasing silt deposit due to Farakka barrage causing floods in Bihar every year, experts on Sunday advocated “urgent review” and comprehensive study of the barrage to make the river rejuvenated.

Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, also known as Waterman, advocated removal of the Farakka barrage and said:“On the basis of what we have discussed so far, we can easily say that Farakka is inauspicious (ashubh) for Bihar. It is a curse (abhishap) which needs to be removed. Because unless and until we remove it, we cannot move forward.”

Mr. Singh was addressing an international seminar, organised by Bihar’s Water Resources Department, on “Incessant Ganga” on the second day.

“We have so far discussed so many aspects such as engineering and technological aspects of the Farakka, but there are other aspects such as environmental, cultural, natural, spiritual that need to be discussed,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, environment expert Himanshu Thakkar advocated urgent need for review of the Farakka barrage which, he claimed, had failed to fulfil any of the purpose — irrigation, hydro-electric power, water supply — of the barrage for which it was built.

The barrage was built to maintain the navigability of the Kolkata port, he added.

Mr. Thakkar, who is a coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, River and People, New Delhi, said: “There is a need for urgent review of the barrage which is 42 years old. In the US, review of barrage is conducted in every 20 years, but in our country this practice is not followed.”

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 10:55:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farakka-barrage-a-curse-for-bihar-say-experts/article17373696.ece

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