Kosi River Current Affairs - 2020

Centre approves Rs 4,900 crore Kosi-Mechi Interlinking project

Union Government has approved Rs 4,900 crore Kosi-Mechi Interlinking project for interlinking of Kosi and Mechi rivers of Bihar. This is the second major river interlinking project in the country to be approved by Central Government after the Ken-Betwa project in Madhya Pradesh. This approval comes after this project secured the last remaining mandatory technical-cum-administrative nod from Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

About Kosi-Mechi Interlinking project

It envisages diversion of part of surplus water of Kosi river through existing Hanuman Nagar barrage to Mechi River of Mahananda basin. Mechi River is important tributary of Mahananda river. Its basin is mostly deficient in providing adequate water for irrigation.

Benefits

It will give relieve large swathes of north Bihar (especially Seemanchal region) from menace of recurring floods. It will channel surplus water from Kosi River into Mahananda, thus optimizing redistribution of the surplus waters   and providing it for irrigation of whooping 2.14 lakh hectares of command areas spread across the districts of Kishanganj, Araria, Purnia and Katihar in north Bihar.

It has the potential to usher in next green revolution in Seemanchal region. This project involves no displacement of population and there is no diversion of any forest land. Besides, no national park, wildlife sanctuary, eco-sensitive areas, etc. are present within 10 kilometer (km) radius of project.

National Project Status

Kosi-Mechi Interlinking project has not yet received coveted National Project Status. But on the lines of Ken-Betwa project in MP (India’s first Interlinking of rivers project), this project also qualifies for a ‘National Project’ status because of number of reasons, including its huge flood management and irrigation potential.

Moreover, its entire command area is contiguous to international boundary (India-Nepal). National Project status for this project will mean that majority of funding support will be borne by Central Government instead of State Government.

India inks Loan Agreement with World Bank for Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project

Union Government has signed 250 million dollars Financing Agreement with World Bank for Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project.

The loan has been sanctioned by the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm International Development Association (IDA). The loan has implementation period of 5 years and Bihar Government is the implementing agency.

About Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project

  • Project objective is to enhance: (i) Resilience to floods from Kosi River which is infamously dubbed as sorrow of Bihar and increase agricultural production and productivity of targeted districts along the river basin. (ii) State’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency.
  • Five components of Project are: (i) Improving Flood Risk Management. (ii) Augmenting Connectivity. (iii) Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness. (iv) Implementation Support (v) Contingent Emergency Response.
  • Primary beneficiaries of this Project: Rural households and producers in the Kosi River Basin who are regularly exposed to floods.
  • It will mainly include farmers who have lost their agricultural lands by the devastating 2008 Kosi River Flood due to the silt deposition.
  • It will also include farmers from the project area currently not having access to irrigation and other technologies, adequate transport network and improved agricultural practices.