EIA: Bhagalpur Water Supply

Published Date: 
06/2011

Bihar Urban Development Investment Program (the investment program) is intended to optimize social and economic development in 4 towns of Bihar (Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Gaya) having significant development potential. The investment program will be implemented over a seven year period beginning in 2011, and funded by a Multitranche Financing Facility (MFF) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Under the MFF It is proposed to undertake water supply and sewerage components in the 4 selected towns for implementation in 3 tranches. In the first tranche (Project-1), improvement of water supply in Bhagalpur town is proposed. The Executing Agency for the investment program is the Urban Development and Housing Department (UDHD) of the state Government of Bihar, while the Implementing Agency is the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO). ADB requires delivery of environmental safeguards throughout the project cycle and policy principles and requirements for environmental assessment are described in ADB‘s Safeguard Policy Statement, 2009 (SPS).

An Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) was conducted for the Bhagalpur Water Supply Subproject as part of the investment program project preparatory technical assistance (PPTA). During the preparation of the IEE report it was noted that one of the project components (water intake structure) is proposed in the river Ganges within the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary. The sanctuary (protected area) is a 50 kilometer (km) stretch of the Ganges River from Sultanganj to Kahalgaon. Designated in 1991 it is the only protected area for the endangered gangetic dolphins in Asia. The gangetic dolphin, platanista gangetica is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species(CMS), it is categorized as endangered in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature‘s (IUCN) Red List. To ensure the protection of this endangered specie it is necessary to study the conservation management plan for the protected area and develop mitigation measures/protection strategy against specific impacts during construction and operation of the water supply system particularly for source development.

Considering the critical project component location and existence of an endangered specie, the subproject is categorized as A consistent with the SPS. Accordingly an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is prepared for the Bhagalpur Water Supply Subproject as part of the investment program‘s PPTA for Project-1. The Government of India‘s EIA Notification does not require an environmental clearance for the execution of the water supply project, however clearance (No Objection Certificate) from the State Wildlife Board and Ministry of Environment Forest‘s National Wildlife Board is required for the activity within the wildlife sanctuary in accordance with the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

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