Kosi floods in early July take officials, residents by surprise
This year’s floods in Kosi and Seemanchal regions have taken by surprise the administrative machinery as well as residents, who say they have never seen such a menacing Kosi river in the month of July.
“Such a vast amount of water has never been seen in Kosi earlier in the second week of July,” said Rajendra Jha (57), secretary of Kosi Sewa Sadan, who has been working on Kosi river for the last three decades.
“The river bed of Kosi is becoming thicker due to deposition of sand and concrete and the same is increasing pressure on embankments. If sand and concrete are not removed from the belly on a priority basis, the region may witness a much bigger devastation in the next two to three years, bigger than the 2008 floods caused by Kusaha breach in Nepal,” he said.
“We have never seen such wrath from Kosi. We are in panic,” Sohan Choudhary of Arapatti village under Nauhatta block said.
Amit Anand of Mahishi village said, “We are helpless. Neither the authorities nor political leaders have given priority to the master plan for Kosi.”
Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project is aimed at enhancing resilience to floods and increase agricultural production in the Kosi and Seemanchal regions.
Saharsa district magistrate Shailza Sharma, however, denied reports of any panic. “Flood waters have entered a few panchayats of Nauhatta block and Kosi has started receding,” she said.
Araria district magistrate Baidyanath Yadav, however, admitted they were taken by surprise. “Yes, we were taken by surprise this year. Floods came much earlier,” he said, adding that relief and rescue operations continued unhindered.
The claim, however, was disputed by people. “The administration has not shown efficiency on the ground,” said Md Mojib, a resident of Jokihat whose son Arshad Alam (22) drowned in floodwaters two days ago. His body was traced on Sunday.
Similarly Tuntun Sharma of Kursakanta blamed the administration for not reaching to them on time. “We waited and waited for them, but no help came from anywhere” he alleged.
Meanwhile, chief minister Nitish Kumar conducted an aerial survey of Kosi and Seemanchal areas and held talks with officials at Chunapur airport in Purnia.