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Poor dam management causes floods in Bihar

Sudden release of huge amount of water from Bansagar dam in MP responsible for Bihar floods

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Aug 24 2016 1:14PM | Updated Date: Aug 24 2016 1:14PM

Poor dam management causes floods in Bihar

Bihar is suffering by floods from past one month despite receiving less than normal rains this year. The blame lies squarely on mismanagement of a dam and a barrage in neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.


The situation has become so bad in the past four days that state chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to get immediate help. Nitish hoping for a long-lasting solution in the form of a national policy on dam and river slit management.


Bansagar dam had been accumulating water for the past over one month but it started releasing water only when it was 95.22% full and had little capacity to store any more water. The dam authority had opened 16 of its 18 gates on August 19, releasing a huge amount of water in one go.


The water led to the Ganga rising to unprecedented water levels in Patna and in other parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Release of water from the Bansagar dam in Madhya Pradesh along the Sone in an unregulated manner has even flooded certain areas in UP.


"If Bansagar dam had not released water during floods in the downstream area, the unprecedented floods in Bihar and UP could have been avoided. It shows mismanagement of the dam by Bansagar Control Board," said environmentalist and water conservationist Himanshu Thakkar.


An absence of a national policy on silt management has made the situation worse where most of the rivers including Ganga and Sone were choked with silt, says Thakkar. He said the drainage congestion and siltation in Ganga, created by Farakka barrage, led to an avoidable disaster in Bihar.