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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Bihar govt set to resist national water policy

Ashok Mishra, Hindustan Times  Patna, March 02, 2013
First Published: 11:35 IST(2/3/2013) | Last Updated: 11:40 IST(2/3/2013)

Bihar government has decided to oppose the National Water Policy, 2012, as it believes the proposed move was tantamount to infringement of state's rights on its water resources.

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Water resources minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary on Friday said the central regulation and control of water resources was 'unconstitutional' and 'detrimental' to Bihar's growth.
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"It is a flagrant violation of the federal structure, as water comes under the state list of subjects," Choudhary said while replying to a debate on the budgetary demands of the department in the state assembly.

He said the state government has already raised objection to water being termed a national resource at the national water resource council meet held late last year. 

"If so was the case, then why natural resources like mines and minerals, ports and fisheries, all available in abundance in many states, have not been made available for use by other states? " he wondered.
Choudhary said water was one of the major natural resources of Bihar.

"Why is the Centre hell bent upon implementing the policy in the name of 'equitable and fair' distribution of water resources?"  he asked. 

"If the Centre goes ahead with the control of water resources, Bihar will launch a battle against the move. It is not acceptable to the state government, neither to the people of Bihar," he said.

 He said the Centre was also not acting judiciously on interstate water disputes as per the Inter-state Rivers Disputes Act, 1956. 

"Bihar being a lower riparian state has several such disputes with Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh pending with the Centre. We have made several requests to settle issues like Tilaiya-Dhadhar, North Koel and disputes over Sone waters etc. Instead of solving them, the Centre is trying to encroach upon the exclusive rights of the state,"  he said.
Choudhary also expressed concern over the depleting fresh water resources in the state.

"The water availability per capita per year is gradually declining in Bihar. As per a 2011 assessment, it stands at 1,200 cumec. We are much below in the category of water-stressed states and, if steps are not taken earnestly, we will soon become a water scarce state," he said.

The minister also claimed the state government had created an additional irrigation potential of nearly 2.7 lakh hectares during 2006-12.

Later, the house passed Rs.3319.20 crore budget of the department by a voice vote.


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