As lakhs of people in Bihar remain uprooted by the wrath of the Kosi, neither the Centre nor the state government is willing to plug the breach in the river’s embankment in Kusaha, Nepal.
While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wants the work done by the Centre, the Union Water Resources Ministry says it is the state government’s job.
Said Nitish: “The Prime Minister had been impressed upon to secure the technical recommendations of the Central Committee of Water Resources experts pertaining to the sealing of the breach and construction of the pilot channel to revert the course of the Kosi as the state government has no stake in this process. The State Water Resources Department has been ordered to assist the central technical committee if it decides to seek help from here.”
Nitish said the state government was committed to ensuring rehabilitation and reconstruction work in flood-hit areas but it would depend solely on early closure and foolproof sealing of the breached eastern Kosi afflux embankment at Kusaha.
The Union Water Resources Ministry, however, said any work on the Kosi embankment is to be executed by the state government. Union Water Resources Minister Jayprakash Narayan Yadav claimed the Centre had given the ‘go ahead’ letter to the Bihar government on August 22 for plugging of the breach with a directive to immediately launch work on the cut-ends of the embankment. “Again on August 25, the Centre informed the state government that 10,000 concrete porcupines were available at Farakka Barrage that could be transported to the work site on the Kosi embankment within 10 hours. Still, the chief minister asks who will execute the work,” Yadav said.
Apart from the lack of coordination between the two expert committees, two technical committees — a judicial commission headed by former Chief Justice of Patna High Court Rajesh Balia — which were to look into the circumstances leading to the breach are yet to start their work.