Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kosi slides eastward, wreaks havoc

Patna, August 25: With the Kosi changing its course and reverting back to its course prior to 1731, large parts of Supaul, Araria, Madhepura, Purnea and Katihar in north Bihar lie submerged, putting several lakhs of people in distress. The last time the river had changed its course was in 1952. On August 18, a 3-km-long embankment was swept away at Kushaha in Nepal, about 7 km away from the Kosi Barrage at Birpur in Supaul. While the state Government is struggling to evacuate and rehabilitate lakhs of people, geological experts say that the river has started sliding towards the east after receding 110 km west in the last 250 years or so. Ironically, the Kosi Barrage at Birpur — meant to prevent flood — proved of no use as the river had become shallow on both sides of the barrage. The native villages of Water Resources Development Minister Bijendra Yadav, Disaster Management Minister Nitish Mishra and Disaster Management Secretary R K Singh are all submerged in floodwaters. Speaking to The Indian Express, Bhartiya Nadighati Manch convenor Bhagwanji Pathak said: “Prior to 1731, Kosi used to flow by Purnea and Forbesganj. It last changed its course in 1952. The river started sliding towards the west, flowing by Murliganj in 1892, Madhepura in 1922, Saharsa in 1936 and by 1952 it had reached Darbhanga.” The river is now flowing from Bhimnagar to Birpur, Araria and Purnea to flow into Ganges at Kursaila in Saharsa, completing its 225 km-long-journey. The unique geographical onslaught has caught the state Government unawares. The Government machinery, despite pressing over 100 motorboats and four helicopters into service, is unable to relocate people from villages that have turned into islands. Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi explained: “Supaul seldom faces such floods. The severity of the flood has damaged embankments and it is difficult to reach the people there. However, relief has gained momentum with disaster management officials assessing areas of concentration.” The Deputy CM added the Government would soon be raising a trained disaster management team on the pattern of Gujarat. Over 20 lakh people have been affected by the floods in 14 districts of Bihar; 42 people have died in the state, official sources said. 1.43 lakh cusecs released from alternative river route as against 22,000 cusecs at Kosi Barrage at Birpur, SupaulKosi Barrage at Birpur came up in 1954 Previous course of Kosi
• Chatra (Nepal)
• Bhimnagar Barrage at Birpur (Supaul)
• Nabhatta in Saharsa
• Mahesi and Chandrain
• Kopadia in Khagaria where Kosi meets streams of seven rivers
• Merges with Ganges at Kursaila in Katihar Present course
• Sunsarai (Nepal)
• Birpur in Supaul
• Bhimnagar
• Balwa
• Chhotaghat
• Lalpur
• Parsa
• Chhapin
• Sitapur
• Basmatia in Araria
• Tenghara-Bhokraha in Madhepura
• Sonbarsa where it merges with Sursar
Indian Express

No comments: