Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It is play time for floods

                                                 Dinesh Mishra/ Patna

Flood season is approaching fast and it will impact Bihar also sooner or later. The round of negotiations with Nepal will commence and assurances given to the people of Bihar that something is being planned for them and soon the action will be taken. By the end of the year everything will come to a happy ending.
 A Technical Committee appointed by the Government of Bihar (2007) to study the flood problem and suggest remedies for it says explicitly, ‘…The reservoir and the flood damaged area should be close to each other.’ The spot where Barahkshetra Dam is proposed to be built in Nepal is about 55 km from Indo-Nepal border and the confluence of the Kosi below the border is not less than 200 km. If the committee headed by former Engineer-in- Chief of Bihar says that distant dams don’t provide protection against floods, what purpose it is going to serve?
  The distance of Dheng Bridge from the proposed location of the Nunthar Dam is nearly 70 kilometers and the distance between Dheng to Badlaghat is over 250 kilometers. The case of the Kamla is no different either. That strengthens the view that no flood protection would be possible from this dam in its present form. That is the reason, probably, that no flood cushion has been provided in the design of the dam but the politicians nurse a feeling that the dam at Nunthar will help in preventing floods in the basin. A former Central Minister, Hari Kishore Singh, says, ‘…There is no money available to build the dam at Nunthar. When money is not there, what is the point in talking about the project?
 Even if resources are located, the political situation in Nepal is not conducive for taking up any construction work there or even entering into an agreement for it. Atmosphere there is not favorable to India. Nobody would know whether there is a provision for any flood cushion in the designs or not. May be, the ministers know it. A politician always assumes that if a dam is going to be built, it is imperative that there would be arrangements of irrigation, flood control and power production. The engineers must tell the politicians if no such provision has been made.’ Do our engineers refrain from giving correct picture to their political bosses? Do they lack courage to tell the truth? No engineer will ever like to get humiliated after telling the truth, it seems. People know only to chant 'Zindabaad'.

(Dinesh Kumar Mishra (born 1948) is convenor of ‘Barh Mukti Abhiyan’, an NGO which is mounting a grassroots movement that challenges the current, top-heavy flood control policy in India.)

No comments:

Post a Comment