Patna, Sept. 8: Bihar has urged the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) to complete formulation of the detailed project report (DPR) for the Budhi Gandak-None-Baya-Ganga river interlinking project by the end of October.
The state made the request during the agency’s 58th meeting in New Delhi on Friday.
“The Bihar government wants to start work on this ambitious project as quickly as possible. The NWDA has assured us to complete the DPR formulation work by October,” principal secretary of Bihar water resources department Afzal Amanullah, who is also an NWDA member, today told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi.
According to plans, the DPR was slated for completion this December.
The project entails linking the Budhi Gandak to the Ganga by constructing an 11-km-long diversion channel through None and Baya rivers to battle floods in parts of West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur and Vaishali districts. It also entails providing irrigation facilities to 2.5 lakh hectares of arable land.
Post-DPR formulation, the project would be submitted to National Water Commission for technical approval. The Planning Commission will then have to approve it for financial clearance.
Based on preliminary estimates, the 13th Finance Commission sanctioned Rs 416 crore for the project. However, during the course of DPR formulation, it became clear that around Rs 4,000 crore would be required.
“Funds won’t be a problem as river interlinking projects are being given top priority. The state would approach the Centre for requisite funds for the said project,” said a senior water resources department official.
He added that schemes such as Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, Flood Management Programme and Backward Region Grant Fund are some of the avenues through which the state can seek funds from the Centre.
During the meeting, NWDA officials said the DPR for the Kosi-Mechi river interlinking project had been finalised and would be handed over to the Bihar government soon. The project would introduce irrigation facilities to 2.42 lakh hectare of arable land in the Mahananda basin in eastern Bihar.
To battle the floods and irrigate maximum area of arable land, the Bihar government has come up with eight river interlinking projects.
Expressing concern over the slow progress of DPR formulation of the Kosi-Ganga, Korha-Chandrawat, Baksuti-Nawad and Bagmati-Budhi Gandak projects, Amanullah urged the NWDA officials to depute more experts in the agency’s Patna office. Experts from Calcutta and Lucknow offices of NWDA are now asked to come to Patna for Bihar-related works. Citing manpower shortage, NWDA officials told senior officers from Bihar to provide them with experts on deputation from the state.