With Bihar battling floods despite receiving less than normal rains, chief minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, seeking the Centre’s intervention as he insisted that desilting the river Ganga is the only solution to avoid the almost annual occurrence of floods.
Modi offered assurance to him, saying immediate and positive action will be taken on his demands, including formulating a national silt management policy, Kumar told reporters after meeting the Prime Minister.
He also linked the Modi government’s ambitious Namami Gange project with better silt management in Bihar, saying if attention is not paid to the situation, then it will also put a question mark on the programme’s success as he feels like “crying” at the condition of Ganga in the state.
“The very serious condition that we see today never occurred earlier. The only way to get rid of this is desiltation. There is a need for national silt management policy,” he said.
He urged Modi to send a team of experts to assess the “unprecedented” situation in the eastern state while noting that it is the best time to evaluate the conditions there.
The chief minister expressed concern that the situation can only worsen if it is not dealt with effectively and the state will have to face more severe consequences in the coming years.
Though Bihar has received 14% less rains than normal during the monsoon, large parts of the state have been flooded due to high rain fall in Nepal besides states like Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, leading to huge discharge of water into rivers passing through it.
Kumar also appeared to blame Farakka barrage for the situation. He has earlier held it responsible for increasing siltage in the Ganga river basin.
Due to silt, Ganga could not store the amount of water it used to earlier, leading to flood-like condition despite not receiving proportionate amount of rain fall, he said.