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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Bihar downgrades its alert status for 9 Kosi districts

Binod Dubey & Ruchir Kumar, Hindustan Times  Patna, August 05, 2014
First Published: 14:12 IST(5/8/2014) | Last Updated: 18:08 IST(5/8/2014)

The Bihar government downgraded its alert status for nine Kosi districts, following a central assurance, that the fear of deluge had passed for the moment and Indian and Nepalese engineers were at work at Sindhupalchok district, where a landslide last Saturday, had pent up waters of the Sun Kosi.

Bihar water resources minister, Vijay Kumar Choudhary, however, said, "We can only move on assumptions. We have no direct input from either the Centre or Nepal, as to what they plan to do with the blockage, which if freed, would send down the dammed  waters with such force, that would devastate nine districts of north Bihar".

He said, "We are completely in the dark. Whether the Nepal government will blow the blockage or regulate its flow in some way, is not known. Our advisories to it to regulate the flow, has been unanswered. If there has been a dialogue with the Indian team in Nepal, no such details have been conveyed to us", he said.

Read: Post landslides, Nepal high dam debate continues

Choudhary said, in the absence of any clarity, Bihar cannot formulate what it has to do next.

"There is restlessness in the relief camps and among people who have been evacuated to save their lives. If the water has to be released, they have to indicate when. Otherwise the entire state administration would be stressed for weeks with attendant law and order problems, which Bihar does not wish to be loaded with".

Principal secretary for disaster management, Vyas Ji told HT, "So far, we are not aware of what Nepal plans to do with the dammed water. It has to come down. When and whether, it will be controlled, is not known. If it is not controlled, the plains in Nepal will suffer, but Bihar more so", he said.

Read: No immediate flood threat in Kosi, says Bihar CM

With engineers at the Himnagar barrage at Birpur in Supaul district also saying they had no idea, whether the eater levels in the Kosi will increase, or when, the state government on the assurance of the Centre downgraded the threat.

WATCH: Kosi fury: Authorities say chances of catastrophe low, mass evacuation in progress


A DMD official said, "We are allowing people to go back to their homes in the flood plains of the Kosi, which includes Madhepura, Supaul and Saharsa - the three districts, which stand to suffer most, if the waters are released.

He said, "As per reports, the flood threat has lessened and the government has already decided to close down relief camps in Darbhanga, Khagaria, Madhubani and Bhagalpur though the camps will remain in Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul, till the Centre suggests otherwise".

The department said, while evacuation has been stopped in nine districts, the Red alert for the region continues even as the state government is in consultation with the centre on the next step.

Read: Negligence, inexperience led to Kosi tragedy in 2008

It said, Nepal has been unable to increase the diameter of the three small holes created in the landslide debris to allow the pent up waters to flow out, which now occupies 1 square kilometre with 70 feet depth in the trough and artificial lake created Saturday.

Bhimnagar engineers said, the river flow was estimated on Tuesday morning at 1.15 lakh cusecs, which was normal.


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