Probe in Farakka Barrage sluice gates collapse

Centre ordered a probe into the circumstances leading to the collapse of two sluice gates of Farakka Barrage.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2012, 22:43 PM IST

New Delhi: A day after West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee raised the issue with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, the Centre on Thursday ordered a probe into the
circumstances leading to the collapse of two sluice gates of
Farakka Barrage which reportedly led to excess water flow to
Bangladesh.

"Chairman of Central Water Commission RC Jha will look
into the reasons behind the collapse of gates 13 and 16 and
suggest corrective measures for future," Water Resources
Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said here.

Jha will submit his report within the next 15 days to the
ministry. Till the time the gates are not put in place, a
member of the CWC will remain at the barrage site over river
Ganga, Bansal said.

The barrage has 108 gates and the two which collapsed
were erected in 1975.

The probe will also ascertain whether the collapse could
have been anticipated and reasons of delay in repair of the
gates. It is learnt that Jha will also probe whether the
collapse was an accident or done "purposely".

"In June, we came to know there is a leakage in Farakka
barrage. There is an Indo-Bangla agreement and according to it
Bangladesh will get 33 per cent water and rest will be for
India... we asked for repair of the barrage to prevent leakage
of water.

"We found that because of the leakage, Bangladesh is
getting 88 per cent of water and as a result the state rivers,
including Bhagirathi, are suffering from lack of water,"
Banerjee had told reporters yesterday after meeting the PM.

Besides dry rivers, she said it is affecting power plants
and water supply in the state. "Thermal power plant is being
closed down due to the water crisis."

She warned there will be severe water and power crisis in
the state. "A disaster is waiting to happen because of the
crisis. Many ships are not being able to move from the ports.
It is scandalous. I demand a high-level inquiry into it."

PTI