It is ‘between the devil and the deep water’ kind of situation for those in north Bihar vulnerable to the latest predation of the Kosi, one of the foremost experts on the river has said.
“The Kosi water released by the blasting of the blockage on the mouth of the river will surely cause devastation. The only question is its extent,” said Dinesh Mishra, an IIT-Kharagpur trained civil engineer.
Mishra is author of ‘Trapped! Between the Devil and Deep Water’, a book on Kosi which was released just before the river broke its banks in August 2008 and inundated vast parts of north Bihar.
“The best-case scenario is that the water gushing down will confine itself to inundating many of the 380 villages in India that fall between the eastern and western embankment,” Mishra told HT on Saturday.
The worst-case scenario, he said, was that the huge welter of gushing water would break the embankment on either side of the river and spread itself over hundreds of villages in vulnerable north Bihar districts.
“During the August 2008 Kosi flood, 1,067 villages spread over the districts of Saharsa, Supaul, Araria, Madhepura and Purnia, besides parts of Khagaria and Katihar, were affected. It may be pretty bad this time as well,” Mishra said.
“I am constantly in touch with my friends in Nepal and north Bihar who have a real time feel of the situation, through Facebook and emails. The impression I gather is anything can happen.”
Mishra said it was for the first time since October 5, 1968, that all 56 gates of the Kosi barrage at Bhimnagar had been opened to allow the flow of Kosi water in an evenly spread out manner, in a bid to minimise the damage.
“But the problem is there are sand deposits in front of many of these 56 gates. As a result, the spread of the water passing through them may not be even and much of the water may form of a curtain emerging from a few gates,” he explained.