Engineers not allowed free movement in the zone under bird sanctury

Patna: Inordinate delay in denotifying a 3-km stretch of land under a bird sanctuary by the Nepalese authorities may make the task ahead daunting for Bihar engineers plugging the breach caused by turbulent Kosi river at Kusaha in upper Nepal.

We have faced myriad problems in maintaining the embankments in the past and will face it again if the 3 km stretch of land, falling between the western and eastern embankments, declared as forest zone under a bird sanctuary is not denotified by the Nepalese authorities, State Water Resources Principal Secretary Ajay Nayak said.

The Kosi had, last year, caused unprecedented deluge in the districts of Purnia, Araria, Supaul, Saharsa and Madhepura, after it breached its embankments at Kusaha. Several people had lost their lives and thousands of families were rendered homeless in the worst-ever floods caused. The delay in denotifying the area by the Nepalese authorities, also considered as one of the reasons that led to the breach as engineers were not allowed free movement in the zone, was likely to hinder the maintenance work of the river’s embankments as its spurs on the eastern afflux bund were the first to be affected.

Official sources expressed concern over the delay which is happening despite the fact that the Centre had already acquired the land after paying the required amount to its neighbour.

We hope that the Centre will raise the issue at its next meeting with the Nepalese authorities and amicably settle it, they said.

Meanwhile, the latest satellite imagery showing the direction of the of river at its entrance point inclining towards the eastern afflux bund which had breached last year, has further complicated the task of the engineers. An additional channel has to be dug for the realignment of the main river course because of the problem, sources confided.

At present, 50 per cent of the water is diverted towards the western side through three pilot channels. But the engineers apprehend that during the rainy season, when the discharge would be higher, the river may move towards the breached site, breaking the coffer dam.

Instructions have been given to the engineers to build another 800 metre channel for full flow of the river towards the diversified direction, they said.

Meanwhile, taking a lesson from last year’s floods, the State Government is gearing itself up to fight the floods with full vigour and reach relief to the people at the earliest. --PTI