The water resources department of the Bihar government on Saturday lifted all the 56 gates of the Birpur Kosi barrage to deflect the pressure of the gushing water, which it is expecting to flow into India within the next 12 hours — by 5am Sunday.
“We have opened all the gates of the barrage and are trying to clear the river bed, so that it can absorb the maximum water flow coming from the upstream,” said WRD minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary. The measures have been necessitated in view of the blockage of the Bhote Kosi river near Jure village in Nepal.
“Once the blockage is cleared, the water would come down gushing into the Bihar plains and may damage our embankments,” said the minister adding, “But we just can’t do anything but pray.”
Quoting reports from the Nepalese government, the minister said the blocked water of the river had spread in an area of 3 km with a depth of 70 metres.
The minister said the department had absolutely no clue as to what would be the volume of the discharge of water, when it came downstream. On Saturday afternoon, the discharge of water in the downstream of the river was recorded at 1.15 lakh cusec.
Chaudhary said the designed discharge capacity of the Birpur barrage was 9 lakh cusec. Till date, the barrage has withstood the highest pressure of 6 lakh cusec of water. Notably, in 2008 the Kushaha embankment had breached when the water discharge in the upper stream of the river was only 2.8 cusec.
The minister said the department had sounded a red alert down the lines up to Khagaria. “Under the circumstances, our objective is to protect the embankments on the river and also to remove the people living between the embankments,” he said.