Delhi, Kathmandu sit on dam plan to stop floods
Saturday's landslide that created a mud wall blocking Sunkoshi River about 120km northeast of Kathmandu, leading to fears of mass flooding in parts of Nepal and Bihar, has underlined the importance of the overdue Sapta Koshi High Dam Multipurpose Project.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day Nepal visit beginning Sunday, the issue has found resonance in some quarters that are demanding the venture be scrapped.
Once termed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the only solution to manage floods in Nepal, the fate of the project planned several decades ago still hangs in limbo.
The 269-metre-high dam, when ready, is expected to irrigate thousands of hectares of land in both countries, generate 3,000 MW of electricity, and tackle floods.
Feasibility study of the project in Nepal's Sunsari district began in 2004, but the deadline has been extended five times since, with February 2015 being the target now.
The detailed project report, too, is yet to be finalised owing to opposition from political parties and locals who fear the dam will cause flooding in Nepal.