Bihar to pipe Ganga water to three cities

Gaya, Rajgir, Nawada suffer drinking water shortage

By C K Manoj
Published: Wednesday 16 October 2019

The Bihar government will pipe Ganga water to Gaya, Rajgir and Nawada, which face a severe drinking water crisis, an official said.

All three cities are in central Bihar. The first two attract hundreds of thousands of tourists because of their Buddhist heritage.

“Our concept has been approved by the government. We will soon lay pipelines to these cities,” Sanjeev Kumar Hans, secretary, water resources department (WRD), told Down To Earth on October 16, 2019.

The collected Ganga water will be stored in separate reservoirs at these towns before being supplied to the residents after proper treatment. Each reservoir will have a storage capacity of 90 million cusec metres, Hans said.

The Bihar government decided to launch the project after conducting a proper study of similar water supply in Telangana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, Hans said. 

The total cost of the project could not be estimated as work on it is still ongoing.  

Hans briefed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar about the project on October 15. Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar, Development Commissioner Arun Kumar Singh and Finance Secretary S Siddharth were also present on the occasion.

Kumar was reportedly keen that the project takes off fast.

A total of 190.9 kilometres of pipelines would be laid along main roads, officials said.

The main pipeline will run from Hathidah, a town in Mokama block under Patna district, to Giriyak in Nalanda district via Sarmera and Barbigha. Another pipeline will connect to Rajgir while the second will go to Nawada.

The third pipeline will go to Manpur town in Gaya district via Vanganga, Tapovan, Jethian and the village of Dashrath Manjhi from Giriyak in Patna, officials said. The Ganga water will be lifted from Hathidah which will be supplied to three central Bihar towns through pipelines.

Water scarcity 

The state government was prompted to draw up this project as these three cities have been facing a severe potable water crisis every year which turns very serious during the peak summer.

This year, the situation turned critical especially in Rajgir, a prominent tourist town in Nalanda district, which is also the home district of Kumar.

A dozen streams dried up this year in Rajgir, famous for several hot springs which had been attracting thousands of tourists each year.

Rajgir has a total of 22 kunds (tanks) and 52 streams, many of them being hot streams. The development prompted the state government to ban installation of submersible pumps in Rajgir.

“During the study, it was found that the entire situation arose due to extensive exploitation of ground water by local residents who installed submersible pumps. The government has decided to ban such boring with immediate effect,” Bihar’s deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi had told the Bihar assembly in July this year.

Modi said the hot streams were a priority for tourists visiting Rajgir. Their drying up was a matter of serious concern.

Likewise, Gaya, another prominent central Bihar town sacred for both Hindus and the Buddhists too has been in the grip of a severe potable water crisis due to an alarming fall in ground water levels. The situation has turned so serious that posh colonies in the town, such as AP colony, are becoming virtually deserted owing to the severe water crisis.

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