Published On: Sat, Feb 25th, 2017

Nitish opposes Centre’s inland waterways project on Ganga

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday publicly announced that he and his government are against the central government’s proposed Allahabad-Haldia national inland waterways project on the river Ganga via the state.

He also flayed the idea of constructing riverine ports along the river

“We are against the national inland waterways project and would oppose it if the central government goes ahead with it,” Nitish Kumar said at an international conference on “Incessant Ganga” here, attended by water, river and environment experts from India and abroad.

He said: “We will not accept national inland waterways project because it is not in the interest of Bihar and the country, as it will pose serious danger to the river Ganga, which is already fighting for its survival.”

The Chief Minister said the upstream of the river is already in bad shape and now the central government’s plan will destroy its downstream as well. For the proposed project, a series of barrages would have to be constructed, which will be a big hurdle for an incessant Ganga, he said.

“If dredging is done for the national inland waterways project, it is bound to destroy this river. I strongly fear that the river Ganga will become extinct for such moves, as it will create more problems for an incessant Ganga,” Nitish Kumar said.

He also flayed the idea of constructing riverine ports along the river.

Speaking before the Chief Minister, Bihar Water Resources Minister Lalan Singh said the state government will not approve the inland waterways plan. “We have made it clear that Bihar will oppose it and will not allow it,” he said.

The construction of waterways would create huge siltation in the river due to the construction of ports, which would increase the chances of various Bihar cities getting affected with floods, the minister said.

Nitish Kumar was backed by the “Water Man of India”, Rajendra Singh. “Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s plan of dredging of the river Ganga for national inland waterways project is a dangerous one. I appeal to Nitish Kumar not to give clearance for such project in Bihar.”

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