Friday, July 13, 2007

India wants high dam in Nepal to check Bihar floods every year

With vast tracts of north Bihar and adjoining areas in other states groaning under the severe impact of perennial floods caused by rivers emanating from Nepal, India wants early construction of the multi-purpose Saptakoshi high dam project in the Himalayan nation.

"A detailed project report will be completed by next year," Union Minister of State for Water Resources Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav told reporters here on Wednesday.

He said that soon after coming to power in 2004, the UPA Government took up the long-pending issue with Nepal and it was decided to prepare a detailed project report. A Joint Project Office was opened the same year at Biratnagar in Nepal.

Yadav said that to ensure expeditious action, 32 officials from India and 40 from Nepal were appointed.

He said Rs 30 crore was initially earmarked for preparing the project report in 30 months. But, since the progress has remained very slow because of Maoist activities in Nepal, the cost will go up to Rs 70 crore now.

Yadav said the External Affairs Ministry was in constant touch with Kathmandu and kept up pressure for early construction of the 269-metre high dam over Saptakoshi River that will not only check the surging waters, but also generate hydro-electricity and provide enhanced irrigation facilities.

He said crops and property worth thousands of crores were lost due to the floods.

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