New Delhi: Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday said her ministry accords the "highest priority" to Bihar, which goes to polls later this year, and asserted that there has been "remarkable" progress in construction of Sapta Kosi High Dam, which would give the people respite from drought and flooding.
Bharti said the Centre had held fruitful talks with the Government of Nepal to find ways of reducing the severity of flood in the state to a great extent. Accordingly, there has been remarkable progress in the construction of Sapta Kosi high dam, an official statement quoting the minister said.
"I am sure that once the construction is over, Bihar will get a reprieve from drought as well as the flurry of floods in future," the minister added.
Talking to reporters here, the minister said that flood relief measures are still urgently needed in some areas.
"For this, all the proposals sent by Bihar Government under which nearly 7 lakh hectare area will be given protection benefiting nearly 132 lakh population of the state have been approved," she added.
Stressing on the religious sentiments of people in Bihar and their sentiments attached with the river Ganga, she said that necessary measures have already been initiated for the revival of the river.
Keeping in view the plight of population in the state for forced consumptions of arsenic-contaminated water, the minister said that the Central Ground Water Board has constructed 28 deep bore wells in Bihar to provide arsenic free water and have handed over them to the State Health Engineering department.
"This step has received overwhelming accolade and support from the people there as there are now saved from the hazardous effects of arsenic," Bharti said.
She further said that her ministry accords the highest priority to the interest of Bihar Government and settles differences emerging during the inter-state meetings.
"Efforts are on to supply of pure drinking water to Bihar from the Rihand dam. Also steps are on for timely construction of upper Mahananda projects. These are all inter-state projects and mutual consent is a must for their completion. This will also help the state to a great extent," the statement said.
The minister said that for all-round development of the
state, the National Water Development Authority is working steadfastly and a major scheme for Kosi-Mechi and Burhee-Gandak Ganga link project has been chalked out for the implementation.
"These projects will benefit farmers of Bihar residing in nearly 3.30 Lakh square hectare area. Project on Burhee-Gandak will reduce 492 cusec flood," she said.
The statement also listed the status of various projects carried out under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) in Bihar.
According to the statement, 14 projects have been sanctioned in Bihar under the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) for an estimated project cost of Rs 2,155.63 crore which includes 13 projects on sewerage network and treatment plants with a sanctioned cost of Rs 1,912.36 crore in Buxar, Begusarai, Munger, Hajipur and Patna.
Another 26 projects on interception and diversion and STP with tentative cost of Rs 1,968 crore and four River Front Development projects with tentative estimated project cost of Rs 200 crore under various stages of DPR preparation, the statement said, adding that with these projects all the towns of Bihar will be covered for pollution abatement along the River Ganga.