Bihar's great walls of destruction

In this video, Dr. Dinesh Mishra explains why Bihar is so vulnerable to flooding and more importantly, why structural measures (embankments) have caused more harm than good.
7 May 2014
0 mins read
Once rice fields, now filled with sand (Jul 2012)
Once rice fields, now filled with sand (Jul 2012)

Born out of the sea, the Ganga basin is a playground of the rivers coming down from the Himalayas. Floods are not a new thing in Bihar, a state in the lap of these flood plains. For centuries, the people here have lived with these waters, with the floods washing away their lands once a year, slowly, leaving behind a blanket of rich and fertile silt. However, this changed around the tie of India's independence.

That's when the story of caging these rivers with embankments began. Rather than help contain the flooding, the embankments only made the situation worse. Bihar's flood prone area, which was about 25 lakh hectares in 1952 rose to 68.8 lakh hectares in 1994 - an increase of almost three times. 

What do the locals have to say about this? How are they coping with the damages resulting from the embankments? Has the government compensated them? 

Hear the story of these people from the man who has spent over 30 years of his life understanding the history of floods in Bihar and organizing communities to recall age-old ways of coping with them - Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mishra.

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