Ahead of its scheduled inauguration by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Rs 389-crore dam wall collapsed during the trial run and inundated nearby areas of a township in Bhagalpur on Tuesday. Newspapers in the state had today published advertisements announcing the inauguration of the dam by the CM. However, Bihar government cancelled the programme for “technical reasons”.
The dam is a part of ambitious Gateshwar Panth Canal Project, aimed at providing irrigation facilities in the state and neighbouring Jharkhand. “The proposed programme of the Chief Minister at Bhagalpur tomorrow has cancelled due to technical reasons,” an official statement of Bihar government said.
According to PTI, the wall of the canal collapsed when water from the Ganga hit it after the pump switched on for the trial run at Bateshwarsthan in Bhagalpur district. Overflowing water gushed into Kahalgaon and inundated areas in NTPC township as well as civil areas including the residence of Kahalgaon civil judge and sub-judge.
Along with Kumar, Bihar water resources and irrigation minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan and local Congress MLA Sadanand Singh were also to be present during the inauguration.
What is Gateshwar Panth Canal Project
The Gateshwar Panth Canal Project is a joint scheme of Bihar and Jharkhand. According to PTI, under the project 18,620 hectares of land in Bhagalpur would get irrigation facility while 4038 hectares of areas in Godda district of Jharkhand would irrigated, a government brochure on the project said.
The Rs 389.31 crore project has a total irrigation capacity of 27603 hectares out of which 22816 is in Bihar and 4887 hectares in Jharkhand.
The project first approved by Planning Commission in 1977 at an estimated cost of Rs 13.88 crore. However, the first administrative approval to the project was provided in 2008 involving a cost of Rs 389.31 crore, PTI reports.
RJD claims corruption
Alleging corruption, RJD workers burnt an effigy of Kumar and Lallan in Bhagalpur. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav attacked Kumar on Twitter, saying, “Rs 389.31 crore dam collapses 24 hours before the inauguration. CM was to inaugurate it with much fanfare. One more dam collapses due of corruption.”