India, Nepal to work on averting Kosi floods | india | Hindustan Times
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India, Nepal to work on averting Kosi floods

Against the backdrop of havoc caused by flood waters of Kosi river in Bihar, India and Nepal decided to establish a number of mechanisms, including a minister-level Joint River Committee, to avert such calamities in future. How can you help | Full Coverage

india Updated: Sep 16, 2008 20:02 IST

Against the backdrop of havoc caused by flood waters of Kosi river in Bihar, India and Nepal on Tuesday decided to establish a number of mechanisms, including a minister-level Joint River Committee, to avert such calamities in future.

The two sides also decided to reactivate a Secretary- level joint committee and set up eight technical committees, which will be in regular touch over various issues concerning sharing of common river waters.

The decisions were taken at a meeting between Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and his Nepalese counterpart Bishnu Paudel here during which the recent floods in Kosi River and its causes were discussed.

With an aim of preventing floods, the two sides discussed ways to properly implement the 1954 treaty that governs usage of Kosi River.

The embankments of Kosi, which flows into India from Nepal, breached on the Nepalese side about a month back causing massive floods in Bihar.

As part of the three-level system, the two countries agreed to set up the minister-level committee to keep both the governments updated on issues of water resources "at the highest level", Soz later told reporters.

The secretary-level committee will meet next month to take the discussions forward. This committee had been functioning till 2004 but has been defunct since then.

The technical committees would also meet regularly to review various projects, he said. "We discussed short-term and long-term measures so that the Kosi River provides irrigation to India and hydro power to Nepal," Minister of State for Water Resources Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav said.

Under the treaty, the Bihar government has been entrusted the task of managing river Kosi for 199 years -- till 2153. The Water Resources Ministry provides the funds for repair of embankments.

The two sides also agreed to hold pre-monsoon and post-monsoon meetings to avoid floods and exchange of early warnings.

Nepal also assured India of "full security" for its engineers working on detailed project reports (DPRs) on the construction of Saptakosi and Sunkosi dam projects in upstream Nepal, Soz said.

The engineers are facing threats from Maoists and had not been able to work on the DPRs, which are to be completed by the end of this year. "The DPR could be delayed but the process has begun in right earnest," Soz said in reply to a poser.

"We have joined hands...We will not be bogged down by files and paperwork and take up issues at a faster pace," the minister added.