The Sunrise….

September 11, 2008

The curse of Kosi or criminal negligence….

Filed under: India,Politics — arjun2k @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Its that time of the year again…..The TV channels and the print media is celebrating another human massacre…

 

 Authorities say they have so far rescued more than 300,000 people left stranded after heavy monsoon rains caused the Kosi river to flood. However, more than twice that number are still homeless and in urgent need of aid, and relief is being hampered by extensive damage to roads.

 

 Who is responsible for this? Is it a GOD made calamity or negligence by the authorities?

 

On 18 August a dam on the Saptakoshi burst, triggering the subsequent flooding in Bihar. 1956, the Kosi barrage came into being after a bilateral agreement between India and Nepal. Its estimated lifespan was 30 years. The barrage completed its estimated lifespan way back in 1986. Since then, 22 years have passed, but neither the state government nor the Centre showed any interest in constructing a new barrage or renovating the old one.

 

 But years before its estimated lifespan of 30 years, the river started changing its course eastward. The then Bihar government was aware of the fact, but it did not asked the Centre for diplomatic level talks with the neighboring country. But state and central governments also remained silent about the impending disaster.The Union government shying away from saying that Breach in Kosi Dam is due the Nepal’s negligence, which didn’t allow the engineers to repair the dam, but the Bihar government said the center has not taken this matter seriously with Nepal.

 

Despite the flood-prone history of Bihar, the state governments have never showed much interest in dealing with the situation in advance. In fact, since the country’s Independence, the Centre never initiated diplomatic talks with Nepal. Of course, floods occur due to natural causes such as incessant rains, but by constructing a series of high dams on the Indo – Nepal border the extent of floods could have been reduced.

 

As per the 1954 treaty with Nepal, the safety and the maintenance of embankment is India’s responsibility. The lack of coordination from the Nepalese side and lackadaisical attitude of Indian government has paved the way for this catastrophe.

 

 For past few years we are seeing floods in Bihar year after year. The same explanation is given. We either blame Nepal or form a committee to study the finding of previous committees. Those working on pre and post disaster management planning argue that India’s approach has changed dramatically since the act in 2005 and miracles should not be expected overnight. While in principle that is true, at least in this case there were enough indications that the embankments were breached. But these experts are repeatedly ignoring the warnings given by people the living there. Reports say the locals had predicted the floods well in advance and some even migrated to new destinations. But our authorities prefer listening to the so called experts who have absolutely nothing to do with the life as is lived in these areas.

 

The media and the people who boast Indo-US nuclear deal as a feather in Dr.Singh cap and emergence of new Bihar under a capable Nitish Kumar should not turn a blind eye on their respective governments’ mismanagement.

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