Canal project to divert Ganga water to Patna fails

An attempt to divert water from the river Ganga to the city of Patna has failed, despite the Bihar government investing a lot of time, effort and money (Rs 80 lakh) in the project. In fact, the canal has created new problems, while failing to solve the old one.

Just prior to the monsoons, the authorities built a canal to carry water from the river to the people of the state’s capital city. Once the rains were over, however, the canal dried up.

Apparently, the new canal was built against the flow of water in the Ganga. This meant that it could only receive water when levels in the river were high. “The way he wanted to bring the Ganga was just like a farmer whose goat falls in a well and the farmer hopes the goat will come out of the well by him simply dangling fodder from the top. Lalooji’s (Laloo Prasad Yadav, national president of the state’s ruling party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal ) effort was just like that,” quips activist Ram Bhajan Yadav.

The residents of Patna aren’t the only ones suffering from the ill-conceived plan. Farmers in surrounding areas are angry with the government too. And, to make matters worse, the Ganga has changed its course. Instead of flowing towards the capital, it has moved away destroying hundreds of villages every monsoon.

In Ganghara village, 15 km from Patna, nearly half the population of 25,000 has been displaced. People fear that if this continues the entire village may soon be submerged.

Although the Centre has promised Rs 28 crore to the state government for the riverbed to be dredged the people remain sceptical.