Bihar Current Affairs

Cabinet clears stalled North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar

The Union Cabinet approved proposal to complete the balance works of North Koel Reservoir Project in Bihar, stalled since 1993. It also revived the project to address environmental concerns.

Under the revived project, storage of water in Mandal dam to be constructed under it will be will be restricted at lower level than envisaged earlier to reduce the submergence and to protect Betla National Park and Palamau Tiger Reserve. Moreover, a 24 MW power project as part of the original design also has been scrapped.

Background

The project is situated on the North Koel river, tributary on Sone River. It aims to provide irrigation to 111,521 hectares of land annually in the most backward and drought prone areas in Jharkhand and Bihar. The construction of the projected originally had started in 1972 and continued till 1993 when it was stopped by the Bihar forest department over environmental concerns. The Mandal dam as part of the project had threatened to submerge portions of the Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park. The National Wildlife Board (NWB) had cleared the project in June 2017 with certain conditions.

North Koel River

North Koel River rises on Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand. It joins the Sone River (only right bank tributary of Ganga River) a few miles north-west of Haidarnagar. Its principal tributaries are the Auranga and the Amanat. It meanders through the northern part of Betla National Park.

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National Mission for Clean Ganga approves 10 projects

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved ten projects in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal to the tune of about Rs. 2,033 crore.

These projects were approved in the 5th meeting of the Executive Committee of NMCG. Eight of the ten projects pertain to sewage infrastructure and treatment, one each to ghat development and Ganga Knowledge Centre.

Approved Projects

In Bihar, three major sewage infrastructure projects were approved in Barh, Kankarbagh and Digha. These projects will create additional sewage treatment capacity in Kankarbagh and Barh.

In West Bengal, three projects were approved. Out of these two pertain to sewage infrastructure while the third one is for ghat development.  In Uttar Pradesh, sewage infrastructure work in Chunar, district Mirzapur, has also been approved at an estimated cost of around 28 crore rupees.

Project to establish Ganga Monitoring Centres (GMCs) was also approved in five riparian Ganga states. The objective of GMCs is to establish efficient monitoring of wholesomeness of river including flow levels, pollution levels, point and non-point sources of pollution, among other parameters. Two pilot demonstrative projects of treatment of drains using bioremediation method were also approved.

About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council). It was established in 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.

It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore.

Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.

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