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Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kumar (right) Jha with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Central Government Forms High-Level Committee to Address Floods in North Bihar

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna: Floods have long been a major problem for North Bihar, with various rivers in the region overflowing annually and causing widespread devastation. However, relief may be on the way as the Central Government, through the Central Water Commission, has formed a five-member high-level committee to explore the possibilities of constructing new barrages and other structures for better water management. Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kumar Jha shared this information, stating that the committee is set to submit its preliminary report soon.

Sanjay Kumar Jha revealed that his recent meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her chamber at Parliament House was highly productive. During their discussion, he highlighted the recurring flood problem in North Bihar and emphasized the need for a long-term solution.

Jha also mentioned having a detailed discussion with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on critical issues related to Bihar’s development and flood mitigation. Following this, on June 28, 2024, Jha met with Minister Sitharaman, providing comprehensive information about the flood impacts in North Bihar and offering suggestions to mitigate them.

Minister Sitharaman took the suggestions seriously and convened a high-level meeting the same evening. The meeting was attended by Union External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, Union Jal Shakti Ministry Secretary Debashree Mukherjee, and senior officials from the Finance, External Affairs, and Jal Shakti Ministries.

The meeting focused on preparing a detailed blueprint for better water management to reduce the flood impact in North Bihar. Jha elaborated on how floods from rivers originating in Nepal hinder the region’s development, necessitating significant expenditure from the Bihar government on safety, relief, and rehabilitation measures, which in turn affects the state’s overall development. Several suggestions were proposed to address these issues.

Expressing gratitude to Minister Sitharaman, Jha noted that her personal interest led to the decision to form a high-level committee to explore the construction of new barrages and other structures for improved water management in North Bihar.

The Central Water Commission promptly constituted the five-member committee that evening. The committee includes Chief Engineer Ambrish Nayak of Patna-based Lower Ganga Basin Organization (LGBO) as the chairman, Director of Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) Sanjeev Kumar, Director of BCD under Central Water Commission SK Sharma, and a representative from the Bihar Government’s Water Resources Department as members. The Superintending Engineer of LGBO will serve as the Member Secretary. This committee is tasked with submitting its preliminary report by Thursday.

Sanjay Kumar Jha expressed his confidence in the NDA government’s ability to turn the annual flood disaster in North Bihar into an opportunity. He highlighted the region’s fertile land and emphasized that a long-term flood solution and better utilization of excess river water for irrigation could pave the way for rapid development in North Bihar.

The author is a Patna based journalist

 

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