Farakka barrage to get new sluice gates: Bansal


Kolkata : Stating that the existing sluice gates of the Farakka Barrage were too old to function, Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Saturday said they will be replaced with new ones in the next five years.

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“The existing sluice gates of Farakka Barrage are too old to function properly. New gates will be installed within the next five years,” Bansal told reporters after inspecting the barrage in Murshidabad district.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi Feb 22 to demand the immediate repair of the two broken gates which she claimed allowed excess water flow to Bangladesh. She had also asked for a high-level probe into the breakdown of the sluice gates.

Banerjee had said that under the 1996 Indo-Bangladesh agreement on the sharing of the Ganges water, Bangladesh will get 33 percent water and rest will be for India. “But we found that because of the leakage, Bangladesh is getting 88 percent of water and as a result West Bengal’s rivers, including the Bhagirathi, are suffering from lack of water.”

Following her request, a team of expert headed by Central Water Commission (CWC) chairman R.C. Jha had inspected the broken gates 13 and 16, Feb 26.

Bansal said that gate no 16 had already been repaired and the other gate will soon become functional. He also added that the flow of Bhagirathi was normal.

Built over the Ganges, the 2,240 metres barrage has 108 gates.