A portion of a canal which was to be inaugurated today by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Bhagalpur district in Bihar collapsed on Tuesday owing to a breach.

Water entered into the residential areas of the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) station at Kahalgaon and adjoining areas like Siddharth Nagar and Kutahri Kali Sthan causing difficulty for people and embarrassment for the government.

The wall broke up after being forcefully hit by the Ganga river waters when the pump was switched on for a trial run yesterday at Bateshwarsthan in Bhagalpur district.

Advertisements were inserted in newspapers yesterday about the inauguration of the project by the CM in the presence of Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan and local Congress MLA Sadanand Singh.

“The breach had been plugged and work is in progress to strengthen the wall of the canal where the breach was caused,” said Arun Kumar, chief engineer (civil), water resources department. Nitish’s visit to the area was canceled.

RJD workers burnt an effigy of Kumar and Lallan in Bhagalpur, alleging corruption in the construction of the project.

Principal Secretary of water resources department Arun Kumar Singh termed the incident as “unfortunate” and told reporters at Kahalgaon that the canal would be repaired and all technical flaws removed within two months. He said an underpass of the NTPC over which the canal was passing through could be one of the reasons for the breach.

The canal is a joint scheme of Bihar and Jharkhand, under which 18,620 hectares of land in Bhagalpur would get irrigation facility while 4038 hectares of areas in Godda district of Jharkhand would be irrigated, a government brochure on the project said.

The Rs 389.31 crore project has a total irrigation capacity of 27603 hectares out of which 22816 is in Bihar and 4887 hectares in Jharkhand.

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