Bihar Water Resources Minister Sanjay Jha said on Monday that neighbouring Nepal had been obstructing the flood prevention measures taken up by the government.
“They [Nepal] are not allowing repair works for the Gandak dam on the Lalbakeya river in no man’s land on the Indo-Nepal border. They have also been creating obstruction in flood prevention measures at several other places and this has never happened in the past … for the first time the State government is facing such a problem in movement of people and raw materials for repair works on embankments along the Indo-Nepal border,” Mr. Jha told mediapersons.
He said the “Gandak barrage in the Valmikinagar area of West Champaran district has 36 gates and of which 18 are on the Nepal side and this time they have put barriers there … if our officers and engineers and flood-fighting materials will not reach there, there will be a grave danger of flood in the northern part of the State.” In Madhunai’s Jaynagar upstream on the Kamala river too, Nepal had not been letting us to conduct repair works, he said.
Mr. Jha said he would write a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue. “Our local engineers and District Magistrates are in talks with authorities concerned … but I’ll also write to the Minister of External Affairs over the situation soon … and if the issue is not addressed timely a major part of Bihar will be flooded,” he said.
Earlier, the Nepalese authorities had reportedly prevented repair works on a part of embankment on the Lalbakeya river falling in no-man’s land along the border in the Dhaka area of East Champaran district. Before the onset of monsoon, the Bihar government has been making repair works on embankments in north Bihar to prevent recurring flood destruction in these parts of the State every year. However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who, earlier on Sunday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to put censor on streaming services on the Internet airing inappropriate contents through films and movies, has not yet raised the issue of Nepal creating hurdle on repair work on embankments along the border.
However, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav took on the Bihar government for putting the onus on the Central government and asked what was the government doing when the monsoon had already arrived in the State. “The Bihar government is writing letter to the Central government after the monsoon has arrived ... what was this double engine government doing from past so many days?... they’re writing letters to each other … PM never comes to Bihar after flood … I fear that the northern part of the State is in grave danger of getting flooded this time too due to the government’s failure and mismanagement,” Mr. Yadav told media persons. He said this matter could have been resolved but they (the Centre and State governments) did not do anything on it. “Nepal and Bihar share a very old relationship ... why Nepal has been behaving in such manner all of a sudden? What initiative did Bihar government have taken about it?” he asked.