The special flood protection teams are anxiously awaiting orders from the Bihar water resources department and central agencies for taking the Kosi back to its original course. But it seems getting the final order is easier said than done. For, it will involve the Centre, Bihar government and Nepal government.
The water resources minister’s office said although the state and Centre’s approval had been obtained, “we are awaiting permission from Nepal for moving in technical experts, including Indian Army engineers.”
RP Ram, a Bihar government chief engineer, said: “The initial work will hardly take four to five days more. But it is time we launched the final assault.” He said any further delay would mean the river setting itself firmly on its new course.
Ram and another chief engineer, G.L. Basak, are leading the team of technical experts from the Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) and state department. He said the Bihar government had sent a letter to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu on Monday for Nepal’s clearance. The army will deploy two colonel rank officials, three junior commissioned officers and 80 junior personnel, along with helicopters and carrier aircraft, for the operation, which is likely to take two months.
Meanwhile, state government and GFCC officials blamed Hindustan Steel Construction Works Limited and Sain Engicom Construction Company Private Limited, which were assigned the work of protecting the barrage. They said it was because of the two firms’ indifferent approach that the pace of work is still slow.
Ram said although the agencies were assigned the job on August 24, they took it up only on September 1. And even now, their progress is unsatisfactory. But an HSCL representative said, “Given the difficulties of working on foreign territory, we have performed well."