PATNA: Bihar’s Minister of Water Resource Department (WRD) Sanjay Kumar Jha called on the External Affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on Monday to discuss issues related to erosion, flood-prevention works, and Nepal's non-cooperation in carrying out flood-related works.
Jha, concerned by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's request regarding the long-term solution for flood, also discussed Nepal's non-cooperation shown recently in carrying out the flood protection works along the Indo-Nepal border.
At present, Bihar is reeling under the devastation wreaked by the flood which has affected more than 84 lakh people in 16 districts of the northern part of the state.
"I, carrying on the Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s request of finding long term solutions to floods in north Bihar, have requested the External Affairs Minister to expedite the task of construction of high dams on Koshi, Kamla and Baghmati rivers,” Jha said.
He said that both India and Nepal have long agreed on the need for these high dams but no discernible progress has been made so far in this regard.
“As a result of it, Bihar has to suffer damages and devastation every year owing to the recurring floods brought by rivers originating from major catchments in the Himalaya in Nepal,” he said.
Citing figures, Jha said that 28 out of 38 districts of Bihar are flood-prone.
“Nearly, 68.80 lakh hectares that is, 73 per cent of the state’s total area, suffers chronic floods per year causing a heavy loss of human lives, infrastructure, agriculture and future prospects of development,” Jha said.
If the flood problems are sorted out technically with the cooperation of the neighbouring country, thousands of crores of rupees that go into rehabilitation and rescue missions every year during floods could be used in development works for the state.
CM Nitish Kumar had recently apprised the Prime Minister of non-cooperation from Nepal with the officials of Bihar, during a video conferencing meeting with CMs.
He had earlier requested for diplomatic intervention from the center.
The External Affairs Minister had then assured to look into the issues and offered to help.
Bihar’s WRD department has proposed 28 flood-protection schemes to be completed on the Nepal side this year.
“The Bihar CM had visited Jainagar in Madhubani on the Indo-Nepal border in June to oversee flood protection work on river Kamla and directed the officials to expedite the progress.
The WRD carries out anti-erosion and flood protection works in the Nepal side of the border areas in Kosi, Gandak, Kamla, and other river basins as per agreement between India and Nepal government”, the minister said.
The execution of the strengthening of the right marginal embankment of the Lalvekiya River on the Indo-Nepal border was hampered by the Nepalese administration.
The works of breach-closures and the anti-erosion the right guide embankments of Kamla were also were disrupted by the Nepal side as it was allegedly located in No-Man’s land.
In another important move, Bihar WRD Minister also put forth Bihar’s demand yet again to “include a representative of Government of Bihar in the Joint Project Office (JPO)”, at Biratnagar.
Jha requested to include a representative of the Bihar government in the inter-governmental agency that is entrusted with the task of developing the PPR and DPR for constructing high dams in Nepal side on the rivers Kosi, Kamla, and Baghmati in which currently have only the representatives from the governments of India and Nepal.