Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday virtually put a question mark on two ambitious schemes of the Centre, cleaning the Ganga and developing waterways on full throttle, and said they cannot succeed without addressing the Ganga’s silt problem.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the East India Climate Change Conclave, he maintained that dredging the river was not the solution.
“The goal of cleaning cannot be achieved without ensuring incessant flow of water in the river,” Nitish said, with Union minister of environment, forest and climate change Harsh Vardhan also on the dais.
Steps are needed to let the silt flow into the sea, he said: “To keep the silt away, give the silt way.”
Pointing out that the eastern states in general and Bihar in particular had suffered a lot due to climate change, Nitish said addressing the silt issue was key for the success of developing the national waterways programme. He cited the example of how a cargo vessel of the Inland Waterways Authority of India got stuck in the Ganga 500 metres upstream of the Buxar bridge and when a tug vessel was sent to help it too got stuck 200 metres upstream from the spot.
“If the silt issue is not addressed, the waterways scheme will not be successful,” Nitish underlined.
He said Bihar had been flagging the problem for a while now, including to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for road transport & highways, shipping and water resources, river development & Ganga rejuvenation.
“Please speak to Gadkari ji on this issue,” Nitish said, looking at Harsh Vardhan.
Nitish said he was willing to take Vardhan on an aerial survey to show him the condition of the Ganga in Bihar.
Nitish said average rainfall had declined in the state. Bihar used to get 1,200mm of rain per year but from the year 2006 to 2017, the average had become 912 mm, Nitish said
Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Assam are taking part in the two-day conclave, organised by the state environment and forest department in association with the Asian Development Research Institute, and Action on Climate Today.
Courtesy: The Telegraph