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NTPC and Bihar Govt at Loggerheads Over Ganga Canal Collapse

The Rs 389.31 crore dam project was conceived in 1977 and the work started in 1985 which was completed last month but resulted in a major embarrassment for Nitish Kumar as the canal collapsed just a day before its inaugurating forcing the CM to cancel the programme.

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Updated:September 22, 2017, 2:55 PM IST
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NTPC and Bihar Govt at Loggerheads Over Ganga Canal Collapse
File photo of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
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Patna: State-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar Government are at loggerheads over the collapse of the wall of a Rs 389.31 crore dam project on Wednesday during a trial run.

NTPC has strongly refuted charges levelled by the Bihar government for the collapse of Ganga Pump Canal dam in Bhagalpur. Bihar water resources minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh aka Lalan Singh had accused the NTPC of not taking prior permission before constructing the structure.

"NTPC dug a tunnel for constructing an underpass made of concrete which weakened the embankment. When water was released into the dam the weakened section could not withhold the pressure and it collapsed. NTPC should have created a ring wall and returning wall before digging the dam," Lalan Singh said.

"We had taken all prior permissions. The design of the underpass was approved by a competent consultant Alumus Technology, Patna, and both wing wall as well as returning wall was constructed," the NTPC statement said.

The power company's statement also contradicted Singh's claim that a tunnel was constructed. "When the said underpass was being constructed the dam was not fully prepared so the need to digging anything did not arise," the statement reads.

The project, known as Bateshwarnath Ganga Pump Pariyojna, was conceived in 1977 and the work started in 1985 which was completed last month but resulted in a major embarrassment for Nitish Kumar as the canal collapsed just a day before its inaugurating forcing the CM to cancel the programme.

Opposition parties latched on it and held the state government squarely responsible for the incident. RJD leader Lalu Prasad demanded Nitish's resignation. Mounting pressure forced the government to announce an internal enquiry which prima facie held NTPC responsible for the breach.

On the other hand, NTPC termed the allegations baseless and stressed that being a Maharatna Company it understood its social responsibilities.
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